Face it: as a lot as we love Shakespeare, there are some performs that appear to be utter chaos on the web page, cobbled collectively like a 5-year-old’s collage with no rhyme or motive. We skip over them, on the way in which to one thing extra, nicely, readable and understandable.
What we miss, in fact, is that we’ve by no means seen these gems carried out. And we must be eternally grateful that Staunton’s American Shakespeare Heart is aware of precisely what’s required to carry these seemingly odd performs vividly to life—so vividly and hilariously, you allow the theater questioning why on earth no one else has touched it.
Rounding out the ASC’s fall repertory, from their Actor’s Renaissance Season, is Pericles, a case research in chaos in response to plan, a seemingly sizzling mess that makes excellent comedic sense as soon as you place it on the boards. The performing firm clearly relishes this materials and mines it afresh for each attainable giggle line, each attainable alternative for reasonable schtick, slapstick, you title it—and it’s a superb factor to behold.
Main the solid is Mauricio Miranda because the title character, Prince Pericles of Tyre, whose many travels and travails take us all around the Mediterranean world, in his stressed seek for real love, with a wholesome dose of loss and joyful reunions alongside the way in which. Miranda (who makes a effective Ferdinand within the different two productions, The Tempest and Une Tempête) is completely endearing because the hero of our play, a terminally awkward teenager at first, however one who grows right into a sensible maturity tinged with nice unhappiness.
One of many many highlights right here is Pericles’ courtship with Princess Thaisa, performed to perfection by Meg Rodgers. They reenact that the majority touchingly awkward of teenage romances, with every of them taking turns making fools of themselves, to the delight of all. It’s Thaisa’s (seeming) loss of life in childbirth, within the midst of a ravenous storm, that can plunge Pericles into deep grief, made all of the extra poignant as a result of we’ve seen their first assembly.
The play itself is infamous for violating nearly each rule of Hollywood dramaturgy—it begins, like, on web page one, with the “Huge Reveal” of a royal incestuous relationship in Antioch, the invention of which forces younger Pericles to flee for his life. (The alternative of Chinatown, in different phrases.)
The place on earth do you go from there? Loads of locations, it seems. And with the commanding Annabelle Rollinson as our Refrain, guiding us from one port of name to the following, the travelogue is as richly rewarding as something you’ll see this season. And it ends with a type of uncommon emotional moments in dwell theatre, a tearful reunion punctuated by stomach laughs. The tears and laughter actually occur collectively, and you might be rewarded with a cheerful ending, explicitly cooked up simply in your pleasure.
With star turns in all places you look it’s grossly unfair to select and select—however what the heck, right here goes: James Keegan’s comedian timing is ideal as Simonides, Thais’ father, who solely pretends to rail at Pericles whereas nearly guaranteeing that the boy will quickly turn out to be his son-in-law. Sam Saint-Ours, the ASC’s musical director, cleverly accompanies Pericles on mandolin in the course of the opening “riddle” scene (with that nasty large reveal I simply talked about), however he then morphs right into a doddering Helicanus, who one way or the other manages to stay standing, whereas working Tyre, throughout Pericles’ many travels.
In the meantime again in Ephesus, Summer time England offers us the sauciest Bawd ever, with an over-the-top southern accent, and we watch with nice amusement as she tries, and fails, to show Pericles’ daughter, Princess Marina—the spectacular Corrie Inexperienced—right into a working woman. Marina’s reunion along with her father (did I point out the play covers, like, 20 years?) is touching, and Miranda’s transition from distress to pleasure is nicely completed.
The present’s soundtrack has its witty moments, starting with Brandon Carter taking over the Speaking Heads basic track about displacement, “This Should Be the Place,” within the preshow, in addition to touches of Don Gibson and Dolly Parton (“Sea of Heartbreak,” in fact, and “Mild of a Clear Blue Morning”) throughout intermission.
Backside line: if it’s by Shakespeare, and it’s carried out by the ASC, you must see it completed. As a result of it’s completed proper, finish of story. This Pericles is an on the spot basic, and nicely definitely worth the drive, the tolls, no matter it takes to get you to Staunton.
Pericles performs solely by way of November 20, in repertory with The Tempest and Une Tempête. Get busy, and get tickets!
Working Time: About two hours, with one intermission.
Pericles, part of American Shakespeare Heart’s Actor’s Renaissance Season, performs by way of November 20, 2022, in repertory with Une Tempête and The Tempest. All performances are on the Blackfriars Playhouse, 10 South Market Road, Staunton, VA. For data and tickets ($27–$60, with an possibility to enroll in the pay-what-you-will membership), go to americanshakespearecenter.com.
Credit for Pericles are on-line right here (click on on “solid” and on “creative staff”).
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A uncooked and razor-sharp ‘Une Tempête,’ in rep at American Shakespeare Heart
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(critiques by Andrew Walker White, November 4, 2022)