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a 501(c)(3) organization


A Sad Tale’s Best for Winter is an experimental feminist adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, written and directed by Anna Miles, featuring original music by Val Larsen and original choreography by Lucia Joyce. Through text both classic and original and through song, dance, and modern poetry, A Sad Tale’s Best for Winter explores these questions by interrupting and disrupting Shakespeare’s text- bringing the story into a fantasy world where women live isolated from men, where bears hide behind trees in relentless pursuit, and where a new generation struggles to undo centuries’ worth of fear, pain, and violence in the hopes of creating a new, better world.

Thematically, William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale could be said to ask the question: “how can we forgive?” But when violence is a daily reality for many women and when movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp are finally starting to force a reckoning between victims and perpetrators, a more poignant question to ask might be: what about the times when we can’t forgive? Is it possible to move forward, and to heal, in those moments when catastrophic violence can’t be erased with miraculous forgiveness?

After a furious writing process in the dressing room at writer/director Anna Miles’ day job performing at Disneyland and an initial reading in her tiny living room, Anna and Beating of Wings pitched the adaptation to Jonathan Munoz-Proulx, then the artistic director of Noise Now at A Noise Within Theater. As a new initiative devoted to supporting and celebrating young companies as well as attracting more diverse audiences, Noise Now seemed like the perfect place to house the first
workshop of Sad Tale. Anna joined forces with Val Larsen and original choreographer Himerria Wortham to integrate custom musical compositions and choreography, and after a lightning-fast
three-week rehearsal process conducted in residency at the Lawrence Hall studio at A Noise Within in Pasadena, the first workshop production of A Sad Tale’s Best for Winter performed for one night only on Sunday, November 17th, 2019, at 6:30 pm, also in Lawrence Hall.

A Sad Tale’s Best for Winter was first born when writer/director Anna Miles was watching a production of The Winter’s Tale and grew increasingly frustrated with how easily the male protagonist was forgiven. This, in turn, brought up an extended frustration with the widespread production and often unquestioned reverence for the Shakespearean canon. Many young artists have felt pressured to accept


the narrative that Shakespeare’s plays are the apotheosis of theatrical writing, “universal” in their depiction of the human experience. But the truth is, their scope is limited in form and content, and the pervasiveness of their production takes away resources from living, breathing artists, who’s stories and perspectives can not only rival the works of Shakespeare, but in their relevance and vitality, often easily surpass them. 

But, audiences show up to see Shakespeare.

We are in the midst of an industry-wide reckoning as we struggle forward in trying to make theater more accessible and applicable to all audiences. Our goal with A Sad Tale’s Best for Winter is to bridge connections between the old audiences, and the theater of the past, with new audiences and the theater of the future. 

In large part due to the overwhelmingly positive response our first workshop received from audience members, the collective believes deeply that this play deserves a continued life and an expanded production history. Our ultimate plan is to secure funding or partner with one or more other theater companies, in both our native Southern California and across the country, to produce a full production of the play and bring it to new audiences. 

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