IN ASSOCIATION WITH TAIKOZ
BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
DIRECTED BY JOHN BELL
WITH MARCUS GRAHAM & JOHN GADEN
Marcus Graham, one of Australia’s most charismatic actors, returns to the Bell Shakespeare stage as Pericles, the man at the mercy of fate. He has discovered a sordid secret involving his bride-to-be and her father, the King. Assassins are unleashed. Pericles is pursued into exile where he will be battered by the winds of misfortune, finding love and family, only to lose both. He will be shipwrecked, encounter pirates, pimps, people brought back from the dead…
Bell Shakespeare is joined by the sensational Australian taiko drumming ensemble TaikOz, enhancing the play’s inherent spirituality and mystical energy.
With a sublime cast that includes John Gaden as the Storyteller, director John Bell brings this notoriously ambitious work to the stage as a physical, fast-paced, adult fairytale, right when its message is needed most.
A beacon for uncertain times, Pericles is a story of optimism in the face of fate and of hope in the midst of tragedy.
Bell Shakespeare’s 2009 production of Pericles played in Sydney and Melbourne.
Director – John Bell
Music Director – Ian Cleworth
Set & Costume Designer – Julie Lynch
Movement Director – Gavin Robins
Lighting Designer – Gavan Swift
Pericles – Marcus Graham
Gower/Simonides/Cerimon – John Gaden
Antiochus/Boult – Julian Garner
Thaliard – Paul Reichstein
Marina – Andrea Demetriades
Helicanus – Philip Dodd
Cleon/Pandar – Darren Weller
Dionyza/Bawd – Julie Goss
Leonine/Lysimachus – Jonathan Gavin
Thaisa – Lexi Freiman
Music performed live by TaikOz
Ian Cleworth, Riley Lee, Graham Hilgendorf, Masae Ikegawa, Kerryn Joyce, Kevin Man, Anton Lock, Tom Royce-Hampton
(Performances featured a rotating ensemble of five musicians)
The play whisks us from one exotic location to another as fate hurls Pericles into various adventures.
We find him first in the decadent city of Antioch seeking a Princess Bride, but he has to flee the clutches of her murderous father. Sailing to Tarsus he is able to relieve the city of famine and becomes a national hero. But on his way home to Tyre he is shipwrecked on the coast of the kingdom of Pentapolis.
Rescued by fishermen, he journeys to the palace and takes place in a tournament, winning the hand of the Princess Thaisa. Their match is sealed during a great banquet with music and dance.
Nine months later Pericles and Thaisa (now pregnant) set out again for Tyre, but once more the malignant Neptune whips up a mighty storm. Thaisa dies in childbirth and the superstitious sailors insist her body be cast overboard in a coffin so that the storm will cease. The grief stricken Pericles names his baby daughter Marina because she was born at sea.
Thaisa’s coffin is washed up on the shore of Ephesus and carried to the house of a wise healer name Cerimon. Opening the coffin, he realizes that Thaisa is still alive and is able to revive her. With her consent he takes her to the temple of Diana to be cared for by the nuns.
Pericles leaves the baby Marina in the care of the Governor of Tarsus and his wife Dionyza, who are deeply indebted to him for their relief from the famine. But as Marina grows up, Dionyza becomes increasingly envious because her own daughter cannot match Marina’s beauty and talent.
She appoints an assassin to kill Marina who is luckily rescued by pirates but then sold to a brothel in Mytilene.
Here her beauty and virtue convert all the customers, including the Governor, Lysimachus. The brothel keepers are delighted to get rid of her as she is ruining their business.
Returning to Tarsus to claim Marina, Pericles is told by Dionyza that his daughter is dead and he is shown her tomb.
Distraught, he returns to sea but becomes increasingly reclusive until he can neither hear nor speak, such is the depth of his despair.
His ship arrives at Mytilene. The Governor Lysimachus hears about the strange recluse and sends for Marina whose healing powers may cure him.
Marina sings to Pericles to awaken him from his comatose state and tells him the story of her life. On realizing that this is his daughter, Pericles is transported to a state of ecstasy.
A vision of Diana appears to him bidding him to give thanks at her temple in Ephesus. On arrival there, he is recognized by Thaisa: father, mother and daughter are reunited. So ends the tale.