The Wichita Shakespeare Company (WSC) will be closing its 2008 Shakespeare-in-the-Park series with “The Adventures of Pericles, Prince of Tyre.” A story of loss, suffering, reunion, and reward, Pericles is an epic adventure tale on the high seas. Reminiscent of Homer’s “The Odyssey,” this spectacular play features shipwrecks, a birthday celebration, a death, and resurrection….and all this just in the first half of the show! Pericles is kind of an allegorical everyman, as he takes his wondrous journey of the soul. In his world, suffering and loss do exist. But in the end, the wicked are punished and the good are “crown’d with joy at last.”
The talented ensemble cast of nine will play (collectively) forty-some varied roles. They are also serving as a collaborative chorus in the play. The narrative character of John Gower (in Shakespeare’s unabridged version) has been replaced here by the collaborative chorus. The actors will swap characters frequently and also, due to the nature of the show, further the play’s action in overtly theatrical ways (like simulating a ship’s mast and sail during a shipwreck scene).
Due to the epic quality of the show, a plot synopsis (in the form of a map) will be included in the centerfold of the program. This will help the audience (if need be) to easily follow the fast paced and entertaining odyssey that is Pericles’ many adventures.
The play is directed by veteran WSC director Dan Schuster. Previous WSC directing credits include “Measure For Measure,” “Two Noble Kinsmen,” Cymbeline,” “Love’s Labours Lost,” and “The Winter’s Tale.” Other Wichita area directing credits include “The Diviners,” “The Hollow,” and “Enchanted April” for Wichita Community Theatre. The impressive ensemble cast he has assembled for this show includes Brad Geer, Mark Anderson, Dave Downs, Curtis Proctor-Artz, Dale Jones, Jillian Clough, Sheena Monroe, Vonda Schuster, and Marie Graham. Costumes will be designed by award-winning costumer Jane Tanner, who has been involved in every Shakespeare-in-the-Park show since its original inception back in the early 80s. Dance Choreography is by Deanne Zogleman and Fight Choreography is by Jim Crawley.
Shakespeare-in-the-Park will return to the very popular Riverside, College Hill, and Buffalo Parks for this show. The Wichita Park & Recreation Department is kindly sponsoring the Wichita performances. Parks in Park City, Andover, Derby, and Haysville will complete the tour. All shows will begin at 7:00 pm, with an approximate running time of one hour and a half. As always, the play is performed free to all audiences but donations are accepted and appreciated. Those attending are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and, of course, bug spray.
In the event of inclement weather, there will be a message posted at 6 pm on the WSC line (316-655-2017) alerting if the show has been cancelled for that evening.
Exact park locations and dates are as follows:
Sept 5th Central Riverside Park, Wichita
Sept 6th Hap McLean Park, Park City
Sept 7th Riggs Park, Haysville
Sept 12th College Hill Park, Wichita
Sept 13th Buffalo Park, Wichita
Sept 14th Andover Sports Park, Andover
Sept 19th College Hill Park, Wichita
Sept 20th College Hill Park, Wichita
Sept 21st High Park Amphitheater, Derby