POST: 'Pericles' - balance makes us live life whole

pericles.jpg

Whats it about?

A classic tragedy of Shakespeare's about adversity and the beauty of life for Pericles, Prince of Tyre.

What'd I experience?

Have you ever fallen in love with the neatness of a place, maybe not even the neatness, but something about it that grabs your attention and you’re like in love with it at first sight.

Theatre for a New Audience was like a shining statement in the middle of the dark night. This place had me awed and the first thing that attracted me was... their restrooms.  I know, you’re probably thinking whaaatt??? Yes, awkward. I just admire the design of a modern bathroom and compared to other venues I’ve been in, it was just way too cute looking. The truth is, I like design; it inspires me. Yeah… I think, I might have a type of architectural obsession.

Already amazed and comfortable with the place, I took a flight up the stairs. The ushers kindly directed me to my seat. As I entered the seating area, I was perplexed and at the same time amazed once more. I asked myself, "how is this set up?" It was like a maze, beautifully arranged. I hadn’t seen a stage that way. The seats were around the perimeter of the stage. I was already glad to have chosen this play.

As the show started, there were musicians playing in sort of symphony. Then the storyteller, Gower, came to introduce us to Pericles, Prince of Tyre. So, this is a Shakespearean play. But, I felt like I was in one of those warrior-type movies, where men appear to be wearing skirts. Ha ha. In this first scene, Pericles tried obtaining the hand of King Antiochus’ daughter.

But to get his prize, he has to solve a riddle from the king. By solving it, a secret about incest is revealed. Ugh. But the king is convinced that Pericles will fail. Of course, Pericles is quick to discover the meaning behind King Antiochus’ riddle. However, when he has to answer - he decides to flee, fearing for his life. Away Pericles goes, from his land as well as from the well-being of his people. This first part already had me shaking my head. I coudn't help but wonder - was this kind of thing going on a lot at the time of Shakespeare? Like, was it more common than now? After these first few minutes, it disgusted me to look at the characters. I couldn't stand them!

Pericles then arrives at Tarsus and as soon as he is ready to settle, he receives a letter from Tyre letting him know that he is being searched for by Antiochus’ people. Once more he decides to flee, embarking on his ship. Here comes a strong storm that ruins the ship and leaves him helpless and alone. Now, this part was epic to watch. Along with all of the sound effects, the props that were over the top... this scene was so alive and left me with my mouth open. I looked around as "lightning" flashed in my eye, and I just couldn't help but feel like I was in the middle of the storm. I was, at the same time, excited and amused - it was awesome!

Tired and dehydrated, Pericles appears in Pentapolis, where he comes across three fishermen. Here he learns that the king, Simonides, will be holding a tournament to celebrate his daughter’s birthday, her name is Thaisa. I did ask myself though, why did he need to find a wife? Couldn't his purpose be.... something else, something important. 

When Pericles presented himself to Thaisa, he was trying to look decent. But compared to the rest of the knights, there was not a chance. He even held a couple of tree branches with barely one green leaf as his shield. I was so glad that even in Shakespeare, I could still have a little laugh.

Quick at winning her affection and King Simonides approval, they marry and soon expect the arrival of their baby. Pericles receives another letter from Tyre. How do they find him? This one states that King Antiochus and his daughter are both dead. Convenient. With that news, he decides to return to Tyre to retake his land. As they embark on their journey, they are once again hit with a strong storm. OMG. This time Thaisa gives birth to their daughter in the middle of the storm and in the process Thaisa dies.

Afraid that he won’t provide the right care for his daughter, Marina, he goes to Tarsus and asks Cleon and Dionyza to please care for her, as they gladly accept her and Pericles goes off to Tyre.

Jump forward - sixteen years have pass. Marina is a wonderful young woman who loves to dance and seems to be so connected to the natural world. When she spoke... she did it with such sincerity. In fact it was like her words wrapped me in her message and made me think deeply about she was saying. For this and other reasons, Dionyza despises her. She believes that she is overshadowed by her daughter and... wants her dead! 

In her attempt to kill her, she is taken away by pirates and sold into a brothel in Mytelene. Here though, I stopped to think.  Holy shit, I can't believe how far a person's envy can drive them. That is hard for me to understand - why, why do some of us appreciate the good in others, and others want it all for themselves or no one? It makes me upset that because of such stupid desires humanity can turns against itself... seriously, why? 

Pericles returns to Tarsus in recover of his daughter but soon learns that she is "dead". Back in Mytelene, Marina has an encounter with the governor of the land, Lysimachus. He discovers Marina's way with words, and soon she is known in the land as a teacher of respectable practices. When Lysimachus learns of a man that has been mourning at a tomb and would not speak, he brings forth Marina to do her job. Marina slowly raises questions about his life and he answers in frustration. She desires to leave but something holds her back, soon enough their truths unite and they recognize each other as father and daughter. He holds a ceremony in recognition of his daughter and Thaisa seems to be there. When Pericles comes forth to the people and presents himself and his daughter, Thaisa quickly comes up to them and reveals herself. WHAAAATT?!

The three unite in a big hug; It was a beautiful moment to watch. I felt that warmth you’re supposed to feel when you are around those who love you… it was so nurturing. It made me think about how many times have I felt this deep feeling with my family. It is just like watching families out in the street. The simple scene of a mother or father with their kids, which always brings a smile to my face and makes me wish I had a family like that. "I wish I could have a dad like that," I catch myself thinking as I watch. Maybe it's that empty feeling that, just by looking, I try to fill.

I honestly couldn’t get enough of this play. Many would say that Shakespeare is not their thing, but I’m certainly not on that side.  I think he was ahead of his time and, in my opinion, this is something I can forever relate to. Although I'm not a fan of unfortunate events, I think it is necessary to have balance in life. Balance make us live life as a whole, and that was something that this play brought out. Balance. 


 

Want to see it?

$20 New Deal Tickets

Pericles
Theatre for a New Audience
thru Apr. 10