“Folger Theatre continues its legacy through exciting interpretations and adaptations of Shakespeare and expands the classical canon through cultivating today’s artists and commissioning new work that is in dialogue with the concerns and issues of our time. Folger Theatre thrives both on its historical stage and in the community, engaging audiences wherever they happen to be. “A Winter’s Tale” opens Folger Theatre’s homecoming season – our first production back on our historic stage since January 2020, as renovations began to the building.
‘A Winter’s Tale’ is Shakespeare’s magical, exhilarating journey filled with emotional depth, extreme behavior, complex relationships…and a bear in pursuit. Directed by Tamilla Woodard, this timeless tale of transformation and forgiveness features Kate Eastwood Norris, Cody Nickell, Antoinette Crowe-Legacy, Hadi Tabbal, among others.”
MD Theatre Guide interviewed two of the youngest actors in this production, Richard Bradford and Clarence Michael Payne, who alternate in the dual roles as Maxmillius and Time.
Richard Bradford (Mamillius, Time) Folger Theatre debut. DC Youth Orchestra Program: Cello. Television: “Lumumba’s Playground,” Pilot Series. Richard is a fourth grader at John Lewis Elementary School. He also enjoys writing stories, singing, and reading the Wings of Fire book series.
Clarence Michael Payne (Mamillius) Folger Theatre debut. Camp Arena Stage: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Clarence loves being a third grader at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School. When he is not in school, he enjoys swimming and playing the piano.
How old were you when you became interested in acting? Music? Which is your favorite?
Richard Bradford (RB): I was four or five years old when I became interested in acting and two or three when I started liking music. Acting is my favorite.
Clarence Michael Payne (CMP): I was seven when I became interested in acting. I was interested in music when I was, about six. My favorite is music.
Tell us about your roles in “The Winter’s Tale” and how excited are you to be performing at the newly renovated Folger Theatre building?
RB: I play Mamillius in and he is child who Ioved his parents I also have the role of Time. Time bridges the first act to the second act. He tells us what has happened over the 16 years that have passed in the play. I am excited to be performing at the Folger Theatre because it is the first show in three years since their renovation started.
CMP: Mamillius is eight years old. He’s a prince. He’s obedient, very obedient, and he’s playful. Time is mysterious and powerful. He’s all-knowing. I was super excited to find out that I would be performing at the Folger Theatre!
What other roles would you like to play in the future?
RB: If I do this play again, I would like play Polixines or Leontes. If I do “The Wiz,” I would like to be the Scarecrow. Also, I would like to play George Washington in “Hamilton.”
CMP: I’m open to any role that I may get. I’m fine with whoever I get!
I hate to use this phrase, but it seems applicable here: “What do you want to be (or do) when you grow up?”
RB: I would like to be an actor and a singer/songwriter.
CMP: I want to be a school teacher when I grow up—kindergarten, specifically, because kindergarten was my best year and I love school.
Who are your heroes?
RB: Tui Sutherland because she writes stories well. Michael Jackson because he danced and sang well, and Lin-Manuel Miranda because he is an actor and a playwright.
CMP: My heroes are my teachers, specifically, Ms. Pearson, Ms. Stadler, and Ms. Bosland. Also Hannah Bosland, Skylé Pearson, Katie Stadler, and my parents!
“A Winter’s Tale” runs through December 17, 2023 at Folger Theatre, 201 E Capitol St SE, Washington, DC 20003. For more information and to purchase tickets, go online. (Use the entrance at the corner of 3rd Street and East Capitol Street. Follow the sloping ramps down through the gardens to the east entrance doors. Enter the east lobby, located below street level in the newly constructed Adams Pavilion.) You can also purchase tickets at the Welcome desk in the east lobby. East Lobby hours on event days are Tuesday – Friday: Opens at 5 pm and Saturday – Sunday: Opens at 12 pm.