The Age of Pericles – Painting by Phillip Von Foltz.
Pericles: Prince of Tyre
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Julane Havens
Review by Kate Barry
Entire contents are copyright © 2014 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.
Heroes face adversity and peril while embarking on an incredible journey. That’s the stuff adventures are made of. Even though the origins of authorship for Pericles: Prince of Tyre is highly debated among scholars, credit is handed to William Shakespeare. If it is so, The Bard took a legend in mythology and threw in elements of his comedies to make a play about a man who becomes a hero. Currently featured in Walden Theatre’s Young American Shakespeare Festival, this quirky production holds on to the elements of adventure with a firm grasp while adding clever bits along the way.
Director Julane Havens’ vision fuses elements of Greek drama and modern contemporary theater for a result that makes this rather obscure work accessible for any kind of audience. Dressing the entire cast in minimal yet brightly colored costume pieces upon black t-shirts and pants, this concept gives each student-actor a chance to come up with a bold choice and personality for each of the multiple characters they play. And with an average actor playing up to three characters, the acting choices provide a wide range of creativity talent. Alex Amaya brings mobster-style toughness to his part as Antiochus while playing up comedic elements in other scenes. Elese Whiting slithers onstage with ease as Cerimon; the conjurer who brings the Pericles loves back to life. Balancing three characters, Shea Thompson proves he has what it takes to be an effective comedic character actor, whether it is the just King Simonides or the perverted Boult.
With so many of the cast portraying multiple characters, three actors provide a strong foundation for the rest. As Pericles, Kenny Harris brings out emotional poignancy as a young man on a journey which leads to discoveries and love. Zoe Greenwald plays Thaisa, the wife of Pericles, with delightful fluttery and flirtation. Andrea Lowry plays their daughter, Marina who embarks on a journey of her own. Lowry handles the physical staging of Marina’s confrontation with vice against her character’s virtue with the utmost poise and maturity.
Overall, this Pericles is quite unique and unlike any other type of classical theater I’ve seen in a long time. With boundless energy from these young actors and a story about a heroic journey, Walden Theater has an epic production unlike any other.
Pericles: Prince of Tyre
Part of the Young American Shakespeare Festival
May 9, 11, 13, 14, 18
Nancy Niles Sexton Stage
1125 Payne Street
Louisville, KY 40204