Jesse Berger makes his Idaho Shakespeare Festival debut with The Winters Tale.
Berger grew up in a small Oregon town but now runs New Yorks Red Bull Theatre (not named for the drink, but for a playhouse that survived through years of political unrest). Bergers specialty is Jacobean plays (those written during the reign of James I).
What is Jacobean theater?
People think blood and guts and thats right. Think of Shakespeares tragedies Macbeth, King Lear and Othello all Jacobean. But so are the beautiful romances The Winters Tale and The Tempest. And a lot of the themes are about what makes a tyrant and what it means to be a good king. Thats certainly in this one.
What drew you to this play? Its one of Shakespeares late, great plays when hes at the top of his powers. The language is lyrical, and the fusion of language and character and theme is so rich and effortless.
Tell us about the production:
Its a fable, really, and the production has an 18th century storybook quality, with flavors of Italy and exotic Bohemia. We have beautiful original music by Adam Wernick and sets and costumes from a whole new design team.