On a glorious winter evening, this magical production on stage at the Guthrie Theater will mesmerize audiences, while the river view where the Minneapolis skyline shines from theater lobbies creates a stunning diversion during the intermission. Be sure to experience this William Shakespeare play..review reproduced from www.broadwayworld.com
JOSEPH HAJ"S GLORIOUS DEBIUT OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S PERICLES
The heavens appear to open above the Minneapolis audience when a cloud filled sky hovers over the stage in the' Guthrie Theater's Wurtele Thrust Stage this winter. Artistic debuts abound in the company's glorious new production of William Shakespeare's Pericles, named one of the Washington Post's 2015 top ten productions in American theater. The production arrives in association with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The Folger Theatre where incoming Artistic Director Joseph Haj transports the city to this ancient tale placed on and around the Mediterranean Sea where redemption washes like water over Shakespeare's heroes and heroines at the story's end.
Throughout Shakespeare's generational sea journey, Scenic Designer Jan Chambers created magnificent clouds hung from the theater ceiling surrounding the audience for a completely magical setting. The massive semicircular screen used for a backdrop doubles for the visuals of fire, water and a starlit sky, thanks to incredible lighting designed by Rui Rita. These theater techniques immediately engage the audience when flames also appear in a wrought iron pedestal urn placed center stage to open the production, and then reflect larger than life on the screen, courtesy of Francesca Talenti's video design.
Enter Gower, a wise storyteller in the guise of actor Armando Duran, whose lyric rhymes accompany the musicians playing on the stage's right side under Jack Herrick's direction in collaboration with musician Darcy Danielson. Guitar, bass, keyboard, violin and percussion seep into this story and resonate as they do in folktales of old. A time when stories were sung to eager listeners, as Haj stages here, while Gower speaks to the audience throughout Pericles' journey and provides a poetic framework. All the while, Herrick's original, composed lyrics and music float over the audience to complement the dialogue, with several songs honed to Shakespeare's bawdy humor in the second act.
The Prince Pericles, a handsome and heroic Wayne T. Carr, sets sail to avoid his immediate demise after discovering a King's secret. Over Pericles' lifetime, he passionately loves a gentle princess, the brave and innocent Thaisa, portrayed by a lithe Brooke Parks. Their happy, royal union produces a daughter Marina, born in a storm, where her mother died at childbirth. Milwaukee audiences might remember Carr from his work at the 25 year young women's theater company, Renaissance Theaterworks, where he performed in Neil LaBute's Reasons to Be Pretty alongside Tony Award nominated Carrie Coon, who went on to Broadway fame in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? With Carr's prodigious acting repertoire following afterwards, the accomplished actor centers Pericles' tempestuous destiny throughout the Guthrie production.
When first heartbroken by love's loss on Pericles' return to his beloved Tyre, he entrusts the surviving baby to a nurse and a royal couple he once befriended. Yet, when Pericles returns 18 years later, his daughter Marina has grown and has supposedly died. Bereft, the Prince returns to his homeland, and secludes himself, speaking to no one in incomprehensible sorrow.
Haj masterfully moves this Shakespearean tale over the 18 years, a supposed difficult task to accomplish and properly stage, where Pericles matures in a timeless setting while the sweeping story shines. Raquel Barreto's costumes evoke an ancient, ethnic and almost ethereal context where numerous actors remain barefoot on stage. One stunning scene dressed the goddess Diana, a stately Emily Serdahl, and covered her completely in a whiter shade of pale. Serdahl then stands on a platform hung above the stage floor to represent an elegant Diana's temple. This recalls only one memorable scene in the two hours and 20 minute performance.
However, Jennie Greenberry's grown Marina turns the performance on end with her stage presence and voice in the second act while her benefactor Lysinachus, the talented Michael Gabriel Goodfriend, believes Mariana hails from royal birth when others try to misuse her after she flees for her life. And yes, Shakespeare's comic pirates, somehow save the day. Lysinachus eventually brings Marina to the lamenting King for healing, and this poignant scene where father and daughter reunite will melt parents' hearts throughout the production run. Here Marina stirs Pericles' memory by singing what her mother sang to her: "On the wind and wave, bring my love to me."
In Shakespeare's epic play, the sea's storms swirl around the hero and his family so the audience can connect to Pericles when he feels, "This world to me is like a lasting storm." A world where he believes his family and friends, even the wife and daughter he tried to protect, remain lost. Similar to Shakespeare's later works such as The Winter's Tale or The Tempest, life's storms eventually wane and let love's glorious redemption brilliantly cover the final scenes.
The Guthrie's Pericles presents a perfect evening to honor St. Valentine's February-- travel with these actors on an amazing, mythic journey conceived on stage by the award-winning Haj. A journey where afterwards, the audience will believe they, too, whether with family, dear friend, or lover, would welcome and wish as Pericles sings "to bring their darling home."
In theater and life, Minneapolis audiences will be profoundly reminded by Pericles to make the most of every moment over their remaining years---because time waits for no one, resurrect love whenever possible. .
The Guthrie presents William Shakespeare's Pericles at the Wurtele Thrust Theater in conjunction with Shakespeare in American Communities as part of the National Endowment for the Arts, and partnership with Arts Midwest. The production continues through February 21. For special events, information or tickets, please call: 612.377.2224 or visit www.guthrietheater.org
For Milwaukee theater aficionados, the Guthrie's production of Pericles offers a unique opportunity to see a nationally acclaimed performance and visit Minneapolis where fine hotels, restaurants and shopping might make an excellent romantic getaway close to the Guthrie in the city's downtown where the view from the Guthrie, high above the river, can only be called spectacular on an evening under the stars.... Plan a wonderful Mini-moon weekend and visit www.minneapolis,org for further travel information.