“The Winter’s Tale” and a spotlight on a new theatre student

A Shakespearean play, “The Winter’s Tale,” will be the first fall semester mainstage production this year. It will be directed by Daina Robins and will run Oct. 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, and 22,  featuring Hope students from all years.

Here is a quick synopsis of the play: “The Winter’s Tale” is a dramedy romance in which King Leontes’ jealousy causes the death of his son and wife, and exile of his newborn daughter, whom he believes is born of King Polixenes. An old shepardess raises the girl, a prince falls in love with her, a statue comes to life, and the play ends with a friendship and family restored. 

Kelsey Sivertson (‘24), is playing the character Paulina, a noblewoman married to Antigonus who defends Hermoine, the king’s wife, when she is accused of cheating on him. Paulina is described as a very loyal character, and Sivertson says that Paulina is “the voice of truth in the story” who is “fierce in her defense of virtue,” as Sivertson has found from her research into the character. Sivertson says that she “endeavors to be more and more like her” in her “candor to speak into situations and bring a good healthy and honoring resolution to all involved”. Sivertson really connects to her character and aspires to “actively advocate for goodness and justice” just like her, even saying that Paulina’s characteristics and truth telling is a “lifelong pursuit” for her. 

Kelsey Sivertson (’24)

One challenge for the cast of “The Winter’s Tale” is the difficulty of performing Shakespeare, given that actors can find lines difficult to comprehend. This is a challenge in that it could create a disconnect with the audience if the actors are unsure of the meaning behind what they are saying. In order to prevail against this difficulty, the cast of “The Winter’s Tale” has the extra resources of reading “No Fear Shakespeare” books to comprehend lines and a dramaturg, Emily Dykhouse (‘23), who researches the play and provides the cast and crew with vital knowledge and interpretations. Sivertson says that the help of Dykhouse and director Robins has been “instrumental to my understanding” to “ensure that I know what I mean when I say those lines” because then “the audience can know what I mean too.”

This is Sivertson’s first production and year at Hope, and she feels that so far her theatre experience here has “been a dream realized.” She “couldn’t have imagined a more beautiful experience,” clarifying that it has been “beautiful in the way that the gift of an excellent education is when it pushes you and it grows you.” Sivertson has found that because the professors and students here at Hope are so passionate about the theatre art form. According to her, it has brought forth a “plethora of opportunities to be challenged and bettered, and I am seizing every opportunity that I can.”  

Stage manager, Lydia Konings (’24) and assistant stage managers, Audrey Kunce (’26) and Ellie Cocking (’26). Credit: Brianna Tomczak

While this is her first year doing theatre at Hope, she is not new to the theatre world. Sivertson has participated at Saugatuck Community Theatre, in productions such as “A Christmas Carol,” and “From Here to Our Destination.” She is also not new to the college experience, having just graduated from Grand Rapids Community College in spring of 2021 with a literature degree. She came to Hope to study creative writing and theatre, knowing that Hope College Theatre is renowned for its excellence. It is safe to assume that Sivertson is glad to be here, given that she says “I keep pinching myself that I get to be involved in it!”

Because Sivertson elegantly states, “Shakespeare is a master of storytelling,” she is looking forward to audiences seeing a “good story well told” in “The Winter’s Tale.” Sivertson explains that the “immense amount of people” involved in this production are “investing blood, sweat, and tears” to form “something quite special.” Her plug to readers is: “if you want a masterclass in project management, if you’re a lover of 70’s music and fashion, or if like me, there’s something about theatre that has attached itself to your heart and refuses to let go, go get a ticket and spend a couple hours with us.”  

Adam Chamness (’23) as Leontes and Eden Comer (’25) as Mamillius. Credit: Brianna Tomczak

Here is who you can look forward to seeing, as part of the cast of “The Winter’s Tale”: 

Leontes… Adam Chamness

Mamillius/Perdita… Eden Comer

Camilla… Ashley Lauraine 

Autolyca… Ella Harris 

Emilia/Mopsa… Elliana  Johnson 

Lord… Theo King 

Hermione… Danai Mandebvu 

Polixenes… Shane Mockbil 

Shepherd… Rachel Scott 

Paulina… Kelsey Sivertson 

Florizel… Shane Sygiel 

Jailer/Clown… Rey Tello

Antigonus… Meg Voetberg 

Lady/Dorcas… Sofia Wake

Check out Hope Theatre Department’s social media sites for more information on how to acquire tickets. 

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