The romantic and adventurous “Pericles” by William Shakespeare comes to life at West Virginia University in March.
The play follows Pericles, king of Tyre, as he attempts to escape murder while finding himself, his home and his family. In the end, Pericles and the other characters go through extreme highs and lows.
The production is presented by WVU’s School of Theatre & Dance. Cornel Gabara, associate professor of theatre, directs the cast and crew made up of theatre, acting, design and technology students. Assisting with the production are Mary McClung, professor of costume design; Alan McEwen, clinical assistant professor of lighting and sound design; and Bob Klingelhoefer, associate professor of scenic design.
The challenging text has pushed the cast and crew, many of whom are playing multiple roles in the production, to use the skills they’ve learned in the classroom to translate the clear and implied messages to the audience.
"This show has helped me with the transition between classwork and the professional world because it has set me up to be better prepared when I get into an audition room for Shakespearean companies,” said Cassandra Hackbart, a graduate acting student playing Thaisa. “I know what it requires to implement the technical skills we learned in a classroom and bring them to the characters on stage."
According to Joshua Clevenger, a senior acting major taking on the role of Pericles, working on a role of such size and emotional weight has been one of his biggest challenges and educational opportunities.
“It was intimidating at first to be working on a character that goes through not only a huge physical journey, but also an emotional journey,” Clevenger said. “The director [Gabara] has really been there every step of the way, meeting me outside of rehearsal time to go over character work, so that I felt confident, as well as excited, for the opportunity to bring the audience along with Pericles and the change he experiences.”
The production allows for multidisciplinary collaboration from across the WVU College of Creative Arts. Mark Benincosa, instructor of music technology in WVU’s School of Music, created original music for “Pericles,” while Maureen Kaddar, instructor of dance, choreographed pieces for the show.
Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. March 2-3, 14 – 18 (no performance on March 17) and at 2 p.m. March 19 in the Gladys G. Davis Theatre at the Creative Arts Center. Tickets are available through the WVU Box Office at 304-293-SHOW or by visiting Ticketmaster.