So. Pericles. Act One, Scene Two. Its weird construction has convinced bardolators–who feel ol’ Bill can’t write crap–that this is part of the play for which Wilkins must get the credit, or in this case blame.
And why, you ask. Well, let’s take a look at the scene…
[EXPLICIT CONTENT, ADULT LANGUAGE AND SOPHOMORIC SEX HUMOR AHEAD… SKIP IF EASILY OFFENDED.]
So. Pericles and the bawdy. Given that Act Four takes place mostly in a brothel, you know it’s going to bring the bawdy. But what does our Bard of the Bawdy, Eric Partridge say in his Shakespeare’s Bawdy?
Two days ago, I asked the question ‘who is the protagonist of Pericles?’ We know he’s the main character, the one for whom we hold a rooting interest. But I questioned whether or not he advanced the plot (or if the plot advanced him). And then, of course, there’s the question of his goal. What is Pericles’ purpose?
Yesterday was our first Sunday matinee for Much Ado, and the Super Bowl (and my god, I hate the Patriots)…so I never got a posting up.
Today, I turn my attention to the purpose of something else altogether: the dumb-shows in Pericles.
Here’s a question for you: who’s the main character of Pericles? Easy. Pericles. And that’s true. He pretty much dominates the play. According to PlayShakespeare, he is in the Top Twenty of characters in terms of the most speeches in a play; and he’s in the Top Fifteen in terms of the percentage of the play’s speeches he speaks (with 27%; for reference and comparison, Timon was in the Top Ten in total, and number one is percentage, with 35%). So, yeah: Pericles, main character.
In 1984, as part of the seventh and final season of its Collected Works series, the BBC broadcast its version of Pericles, directed by David Jones, who had done The Merry Wives of Windsor in Season Five (that phrasing would have been better if this was the “bawdy” post). This play, like Timon of Athens, last time around, was one of the handful the BBC had never adapted for the screen.
[WARNING: The the first portion of the following podcast contains adult language, sexual imagery, and stuff to make you say, “Man, that’s a dirty play.” You HAVE been warned. SKIP TO THE 11:25 MARK IF EASILY OFFENDED.]
This week’s podcast continues our discussion of Pericles with a look at bawdy in the play, the video version available out there, some random questions about the play, as well as shameless self-promotion.
I’ve been noticing that as we near the end of the Canon, we’re getting more and more stage direction from ol’ Willy Shakes (or at least from those who wrote this stuff down). I find it interesting that not only are we getting more direct stage direction, we’re also getting less indirect direction. In other words, there seems to be less stage direction embedded in the dialogue. And Pericles seems to maintain that trend.