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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: December ::
Re: *Pericles*
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0983. Wednesday, 7 December 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Christine Mack Gordon <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Dec 94 08:59:54 -0500
        Subj:   Pericles
 
(2)     From:   Dan Patterson <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 6 Dec 1994 16:51:53 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Pericles
 
(3)     From:   Robert Teeter <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 7 Dec 1994 08:25:30 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0975 Re: *Pericles*
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Christine Mack Gordon <
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Date:           Tuesday, 6 Dec 94 08:59:54 -0500
Subject:        Pericles
 
Several years ago, the Guthrie Lab (their experimental space) did a production
of *Pericles,* that my family and I found quite wonderful. The Lab is a huge
converted warehouse and they arranged the play so that it surrounded the
audience, most of which sat on cushions on the floor (though a few chairs were
available for those whose backs required them). Imagine a large rectangle with
much of the action centered in the middle but with some scenes enacted along the
perphery, surrounding the audience. We were very much taken into the story. The
character of Pericles was double cast, with a younger actor in the early
sections and an older one at the end. I found the production as a whole very
moving, especially the discovery scene between Pericles and Marina. My
experience over the years has been that the productions at the Lab (usually
directed by younger up-and-coming directors, but drawing on the regular Guthrie
company) are more successful than those on the main stage, perhaps because the
don't have to deal with the pressure to please as much. They also did terrific
productions of *Troilus and Cressida* and *The Merchant of Venice* (although
this one was a bit more "controversial") in recent years. They passed on
Shakespeare this year to do Brecht's *Mother Courage,* which I was not able to
see. --Chris Gordon, University of Minnesota
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dan Patterson <
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Date:           Tuesday, 6 Dec 1994 16:51:53 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Pericles
 
I was involved in a production several years ago in which I played Cleon, the
Pander, and the Sea Captain (yes, it was one of those productions).  It was a
rather high-concept production, though no-one could ever quite figure out
exactly what the concept was.  My Pander wore a "gangster-style" suit complete
with gun in shoulder holster, and the Bawd wore stockings, short-shorts, etc.,
and carried a rather large dildo around the stage.  The scene where all of the
suitors come to vie for Marina's hand was a mixture of characters from a cowboy
to a Scottish warrior.  It was all very strange and confusing.  Oh yes, Gower
was brought onstage in a coffin (though no one could ever figure out exactly
why).  Needless to say I don't work with this company anymore.
 
One thing occurred to us, sitting around one night looking at the set which
resembled at once the deck of a sailing ship and the bridge of the Starship
Enterprise.  I was wearing a costume which included a large, bulbous crown
(Cleon) that resembled something out of a 50's horror movie. Several of the
professional cast began to get the idea that the whole play might work out very
well as an episode of Dr. Who, or at least something like a Star Trek episode.
 
By the way, the feel of the lines in the play really seemed to point up the
segments that weren't written by Shakepeare.
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robert Teeter <
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Date:           Wednesday, 7 Dec 1994 08:25:30 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 5.0975 Re: *Pericles*
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0975 Re: *Pericles*
 
Michael Best <
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 > writes:
 
> Performances of *Pericles*. There was a wonderful production at Ashland a
> couple of years ago, directed by Gerry Turner, in the indoor theatre. The set
> was a flexible, stylized ship, Gower engagingly garrulous, and the whole play
> deeply moving, especially the scene of the reunion of Pericles and Miranda.
 
Matthew Henerson mentions that a black actor played Pericles in this Oregon
Shakespeare Festival production.  Actually, Derrick Lee Weeden played Pericles
in the first part of the play (acts 1-3, I think) and Paul Vincent O'Connor, a
white actor, played Pericles in the second part.  I'm not sure why, exactly.
Ashland is a repertory company, but I doubt if actors rush off to another
theatre in the *middle* of a play.
 
Possibly some kind of symbolism is involved.
 
Like the RSC (?) production mentioned, Ashland also used a male actor in drag
as the bawd.
 
I, too, enjoyed the set.
 
Jerry Turner is still there as artistic director emeritus if the original
poster has more questions about this production.
 
        Robert Teeter
        San Jose, Calif.
 

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