Writing in 1993 while reviewing Adrian Noble’s Royal Shakespeare Company production of the play for Shakespeare Survey, Peter Holland remarked that he had never seen a successful production of The Winter’s Tale on the Stratford stage. It seems that the critical approaches to the structure of the play have carried over into the theatre with directors unsure how to handle what they have often seen as a ‘broken backed’ text. The fact that Shakespeare’s text mixes up geographical, historical and cultural details has, however, enabled theatre directors to present it as an allegory for the cultural concerns of their own period. And as with the masque of 1611, Leontes’s cold kingdom has been as likely to suggest a snowbound Russia as an oppressive Sicily.
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