Yesterday, I talked a bit (and a bit scatteredly) on some of the dualities and opposites in The Winter’s Tale. One such subject was the idea that the first half of the play (save for the last, pivotal scene on the Bohemian seacoast) was in the Sicilian palace, and the fourth act (save for a first interlude in the Bohemian palace) was completely outdoors in the Bohemian midsummer, with the final act taking place back in Leontes’ palace. Civilization vs. Nature, court vs. rural. But I also noted that there was a fly in that particular ointment.
Here’s the fly…
Yes, all of the above is true. However, the final scene of the play–according to scene-setting stage directions (I know, an unreliable source, but stick with me here)–takes place at Paulina’s house. In my head (again, I know, not the greatest source), this is within the palace complex.
I’m wondering if there is any way to play this scene as both indoor and outdoor? Could the reveal take place just outside Paulina’s house, outdoors, with the revelation stand where we find Hermione, some kind of covered out-structure, kinda like a bandstand in a town’s square, only much smaller? If so, I’d want to play that first scene of Act Four outside Polixenes’ palace–maybe having the king and Camillo out on a stroll–so that we truly have an outdoor/indoor separation of storylines, with our last scene bringing the two together.
Or is that last scene and trying to pull it off successfully too much to even be thinking about such a literary–i.e. non-theatrical, non-performance–concept?
But I can’t get it out of my head.