“Pericles” fantastical production overcomes them all.

There may be good reasons why “Pericles” is one of the more rarely performed of Shakespeare’s plays, but Marin Shakespeare’s current production (directed by Leslie Currier) overcomes them all.

Yes, it’s got a convoluted plot with implausible situations (how Shakespeare. . . .) that spreads itself over six cities and fourteen years, but careful attention to costuming and stagecraft, along with Diane Wasnak’s as Gower in periodical appearances to catch the audience up with all the changes, keep the confusion to a minimum.

This is an ensemble piece.  Everyone plays a plethora of roles.  The gang appears onstage, clad in an array of costumes as varied and distinct as the scenes—seat of government, storm and shipwreck, brothel, devastated kingdom—and characters—kings and pirates, wives and daughters, virgins and vamps—demand.  Special thanks to costume designer Merissa Mann for keeping us all on track.

Thanks also to props and set designer Joe Eis, for setting up and enlivening these scenes with a minimum of fuss, especially the reappearing wooden rods that, in the hands of the ensemble, become alternately oars and masts, weapons and prison bars, agents of martial drumbeats and breaking thunder.

Not quite a comedy, this play is rife with comedic moments played to the hilt.  Not quite a tragedy, it is nonetheless has its share of accidental deaths overcome by the finale with unexpected revivals.  There’s plenty of singing, and a mystical, soulful lyric by the goddess Diana (Cathleen Riddley)

Dameion Brown brings a surprising complexity to the role of Pericles, bombastic and passionate in all he does, whether or not the situation demands it.  He never sees how easily he can be duped, which makes his misguided passion all the more poignant, especially in the final great scene, where he is reunited with his long-lost daughter (Eliza Boivin as Marina) and Queen (Kathryn Smith-McGlynn as Thaisa).

Do yourself a favor:  read through the story synopsis, then read it again.  Then sit back when the lights dim, and enjoy the show.  You may not have the chance again for a while.

 

At:  890 Belle Ave, San Rafael, CA 94901

Dates: July 14 – August 5. 2018

Box Office:  https://www.marinshakespeare.org/tickets/

Contact:  (415) 499-4488