The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0777 Tuesday, 30 March 2004
Date: Monday, 29 Mar 2004 15:17:38 -0500
Subject: Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival's Pericles
The Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival's Pericles opened on March 25 and
runs only until April 11 at their theatre (719 Race Street in downtown
Cincinnati). I saw it yesterday (3/28/04) and was very favorably
impressed by the production directed by Rebecca Bowman. If you live in
or near Cincinnati, it's a must-see. For tickets call 513-381-BARD.
The set is elegant. At the rear of the stage is an elaborate library
with several rows of shelves with spines facing the audience. These are
used later for entrances and exits. At the center rear is a chair --
the chair where Gower (Matt Johnson) is found reading a book as the
house lights come up and the chair to which he retires at the end of the
play. Behind his chair is a place for pull down maps -- used by Gower
to indicate the changes of scene. In front is a bare thrust stage.
Gower does not leave the stage after his choric speeches. He jumps in to
play minor parts -- after removing his Gower medieval headdress. When
playing these minor parts, he never quite gives up his role as Gower --
who cues the audience with smiles, smirks, and winks. The audience is
in on the joke. Apparently Gower is reading the play to us -- and the
book is his constant prop -- although at times he does sit and watch the
play with the audience.
Nick Rose -- who has been acting in and directing Shakespeare's plays
for the last ten years -- is Pericles, and I asked him if he noticed
differences in style in the script. He really couldn't put his finger
on any particular shift, but he did think that this was an easy role to
learn -- and he thought that was significant. Perhaps another hand was
involved in writing the script (as many scholars believe).
There is more to be said about this excellent production, but I have
other work to do!
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