As part of the Read Not Dead season at the Globe, there was a performance of Pandosto: The Triumph of Time, the work that inspired Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. The event was a bit different from usual, as Pandosto is not in fact a play, but a prose romance, written by Robert Greene and first published in 1588.
Despite this, the work was intelligently and entertainingly performed by the talented cast, who as usual performed script-in-hand and only had one day to rehearse. It was interesting to note the differences between Greene’s work and Shakespeare’s play: for example, the original work has Pandosto (Leontes) as the King of Bohemia, while his best friend is the King of Sicilia. In addition, when the former’s daughter Fawnia (Perdita) returns to her father’s kingdom with Dorastus (Florizel), the king falls in love with her, not realising that she is his daughter. He later kills himself, full of remorse for all the trouble he has caused: there is no resurrection of his wife here, and no redemption.
I will be interested to see The Winter’s Tale again, knowing of the original source for the play, and thinking about Shakespeare’s changes and what they might mean. A really enjoyable and thought-provoking afternoon.