The more I think about Pericles, the more I see it as weird, a jumble of playwroughting (sp?) techniques.
We get a choric figure, but a named one, one that we’re supposed to know (and in a sense know that he wrote the source for the play we’re watching).
Within those choruses, we get dumb-shows. Which really don’t add much to the choruses.
We get dances.
We get music.
We get a pageant of knights.
What we don’t get is a protagonist that pushes the narrative (rather it seems to push him around).
2 Replies to “Pericles: pageantry?”
On the page, Pericles always seems so flimsy, and yet every performance I’ve ever seen of it has been both moving and memorable. Maybe its very lack of cohesion allows a good director to shape it into something powerful? Or maybe, once again, our Will knew something more than we do?
I couldn’t put it better myself; in fact, I’m already working on my wrap-up, and I touch upon the same theme… I’ve seen the play twice–once at OSF a couple of years back, and nearly a decade ago in a college production (one that could be fraught with weaknesses). And while this is a strange little play with little to recommend it on the page, each time I’ve seen it on the stage, it’s been incredibly moving and evocative.
I think your idea about good directors may be right on the money…