Aug 8, 2014
08:06 AM
Arts & Entertainment

Shakespeare in the Park Transports Audiences to West Indies in Pericles

Shakespeare in the Park Transports Audiences to West Indies in Pericles

The Elm Shakespeare Company’s 19th season will take audiences on a colorful trip to the Colonial West Indies.

The classic, if undervalued tale of Pericles—the king who loses the love of his life and reconnects with her after years of struggle and time spent apart—is given Caribbean flavor complete with evil leaders, pirates, fishermen, foul weather and the dark magic of Vodoun and Kanaval in director James Andreassi’s interpretation.

“I picked this play particularly because for our last two seasons we did two of the most popular plays in the cannon, Julius Caesar and Macbeth. When I was looking at plays [I thought] lets offer something to the audience that they’re not as familiar with,” says Andreassi. He admits that he wasn’t familiar with the tale either.

But that’s all part of the allure. There’s the opportunity for discovery and for true storytelling.

(Pericles cast, right.)

“There’s a core of veteran actors that have been working in the theatre for years. When you do a play like Romeo and Juliet they say, ‘I remember my fourth Romeo and Juliet,’” says Andreassi. “No one has been in Pericles. We’ve all been on this journey without a GPS.” 

The Elm Shakespeare Company is not alone in putting on Pericles this season, The Hudson Shakespeare Company out of New Jersey is performing the play at the Stratford Public Library on August 23.

Their rendition will feature only three actors. Andreassi says he’s interested in seeing how the Hudson Company plans to tackle the play because he selected it, in part, for its panoramic nature.

“It’s always so odd when a play is of the moment,” says Andreassi.

For more information on the Hudson Shakespeare Company’s performance visit their website.

(Rehearsals for Pericles, left.)

Shakespeare in the park opens on August 14 at New Haven’s Edgerton Park. Pericles will play every night (except for Mondays) starting at 8 p.m. through August 31. Lawn chairs and picnic baskets are welcome.

“This is the 19th year we’ve been doing Shakespeare in the park,” says Andreassi. “There’s something about an outdoor Shakespeare audience, they’re so open.

“There’s a lot of things that can go wrong with a sophisticated theatrical production outside – weather, power failure,” he says. “If you catch it on a perfect night when the moon is hanging above the set…you can see a story really well told.”

For more information on The Elm Shakespeare Company and their performance visit their website. 

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Shakespeare in the Park Transports Audiences to West Indies in Pericles

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