A Noise Within begins its 22nd season with Shakespeare’s Pericles, Prince of Tyre, opening Saturday, September 14 and closing Sunday, November 24, 2013, with previews starting September 7.
Pericles is an action-packed, tempest-tossed hero’s quest: a magical mystery tour spanning decades and continents. In its day, it was one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays – stuffed full of all kinds of adventurous effects to satisfy his audience: pirates, storms, kidnapping, brothels, prostitution, incest, murder plots complete with assassins, famine (resolved by lots of ears of corn), battles, broken engagements, burning to death by fire from heaven, bodies tossed overboard (only to be discovered alive when they wash up on shore), unlikely reunions, the appearance of an actual goddess, and of course, a virgin.
Scholars have debated whether Shakespeare wrote the whole play or adapted and extended a play by another playwright – with his language and style being seen most strongly in the last three acts. Pericles also shares a dreamlike, fantastical, and cinematic quality with The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, and his other late plays.
Producing Artistic Director Geoff Elliott said, “It is really the Elizabethan era’s idea of what we know today as a smash-hit summer movie – a play of spectacle and wonder. It was their Pirates of the Caribbean, filled with spectacular stage effects including two, count ‘em, two shipwrecks.”
Considered a romance, the story begins when Pericles must answer a riddle, placed before him by King Antiochus, to win the hand of a princess. He quickly surmises that all answers present their own perils, so he chooses another solution – to go on a long ocean voyage. Like Homer’s The Odyssey, Pericles presents a hero triumphing over his travails, as well as symbolic figures that transcend time periods and cultures. In the action that follows, in which human intermingles with superhuman, Pericles’ quest improbably takes him to several kingdoms through a series of romantic events: fleeing from one princess and her father, he marries another who bears him a daughter, both of whom he loses in a second shipwreck and with whom he later reunites through an odd series of coincidences, as an aged hero — one of the most joyful reunions in the Shakespearean canon.
The cast includes Jason Dechert (Young Pericles), Jules Willcox (Marina /Young Thaisa), Thomas Tofel (Pericles /Antiochus /Ensemble), Michael Stone Forrest (Simonides /Ensemble), Deborah Strang (Gower/Ensemble), Stephen Rockwell (Leonine/Ensemble), Jill Hill (Thaisa/Diana /Ensemble), and Jane Macfie (Dionyza/Ensemble).
Pericles is performed in repertory with The Guardsman by Ferenc Molnár, Oct. 5 Nov. 30, and Endgame by Samuel Beckett, Oct. 26 – Nov. 23.
PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE
Directed by Julia Rodriguez-Elliott
A Noise Within, 3352 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91107
Tickets: www.anoisewithin.org or 626-356-3100 ex 1
Pay What You Can tickets are available for Thursday, Sept 12 at 7:30 pm. Tickets must be purchased in person, at the Box Office after 2:00 pm on the day of the performance. Cash only. Subject to availability.