The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0443. Thursday, 10 April 1997.
Date: Wednesday, 9 Apr 1997 17:48:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Pericles
When we did Pericles in 1987, I both directed and performed Gower. Our
set was a gilded picture frame, decorated with vaguely recognizable
shapes a la Tanguy, fronted by a large black & white tiled floor. Gower
had a little platform to SR of this configuration. The play began with
its "fairy tale" opening behind the frame, but immediately began to
spill out onto the floor, and each scene came further out into the
space, leaving props and stuff behind when it was finished: flotsam and
jetsam, if you will.
As Gower, I simply came out and narrated, sticking to my platform at
first, but as the show became more "diffuse," I too came out onto the
floor. Simple set pieces sufficed, obviously: the banquet table became
the platform for the bier; the coffin became the tomb and the couch,
etc., etc. And my penultimate speech was given from center stage, while
the rest of the characters silently came out and removed all the
detritus from the stage, clearing away the past for the final
I left the stage when I wasn't on. I doubled a pirate, as I recall, but
that was necessity, not thematic.
Incidentally, I tracked down a copy of Wilkins' novelization and used it
to flesh out the Lysimachus/Marina encounter. It worked a *lot* better
than what must be a corrupt script section.
I hope you have as wonderful a time with the play as we did. It's one
of those shows that confound the textual critics; our audiences ate it
up, despite its "glaring weaknesses."
Newnan Community Theatre Company