Pericles at Bard on the Beach – a review

Pericles at Bard on the Beach – a review


Are you looking to do something different? How about an evening of adventure, love, deceit, incest, treachery, murder, potential prostitution and a happy ending?

bard Pericles

If you are, schedule an evening in Shakespeare’s seldom performed play, Pericles at Bard on the Beach. These all are a part of an unusual play for Shakespeare as it has a happy ending.  In fact, there is a theory that he only wrote the last act, which includes this.   It pulls at your heartstrings because it includes a young mother dying in childbirth, an orphan being set up to die by a jealous caregiver, and intrigues leading her to prostitution. But, ultimately, all ends well!

The minute you enter the Howard Family Stage you are exposed to a world of sound and muted colour. From the bird chirping above and scraping at the tent ceiling, to the music and singing during the production, you explore the colours and sounds of an ancient civilization. The story starts in Ephesus and moves between Antioch, Tharsus and Tyre.  The action is quick and well acted by an outstanding company.  

The healer Cerimon is part naturopath and part magician, using his skills for the good of all.  He demonstrates these magic skills and guides the action to the end.

There are moments of comedy with a human horse (under a blanket) taking part in a race and the actors dancing a version of Magic Mike at a celebration. The setting is Mediterranean, so belly dancers are a part of the culture!

The play moves between past and present, represented by costumes of vivid colours for the living and pale, washed out ones for the past. It follows a prince’s arduous quest to find love and the meaning of life.

Pericles had sailed to Antioch to solve a riddle and marry a princess but when he discovers the riddle’s answer, his life is in danger. He escapes by sea to a drought-stricken land, Tharsus. Unable to return home to Tyre, he asks his trusted advisor Helicanus to go and serve as governor in his stead.

Sailing on, Pericles is shipwrecked after a large tidal wave and washes ashore in Pentapolis, where he competes in a royal joust for the hand of a princess. Victorious, he feasts with her father, King Simonides, and he and the princess, Thaisa fall in love. They marry, and soon she is pregnant.

Helicanus sends word from Tyre that it’s now safe to come home to rule, so Pericles and Thaisa set sail for Tyre. A storm breaks out and Thaisa goes into labour; a daughter is born but Thaisa dies in childbirth. Devastated, Pericles casts her body into the sea and takes refuge at the nearby port of Tharsus.

There, he leaves his newborn baby daughter Marina in the care of Governor Cleon and his wife, Dionyza. As she ages, Marina’s beauty sparks the jealous ire of Dionyza, who orders the servant Leonine to murder her. But before he can kill Marina, pirates seize her and carry her away by sea.

Time passes, and Marina is ultimately sold to a brothel, but she manages to maintain her purity; clients are swayed by her goodness and forsake their bawdy ways, including Governor Lysimachus.

Pericles returns to find his daughter and is given the news of her untimely death, and in grief sails to Ephesus.

The story provided opportunities for the actors to display sorrow, anguish, fear, and jealousy all tinged with moments of humour, music, and dance. Good wins over evil and the audience wins in watching a new and involving drama. See Pericles at the Bard on the Beach until September 18.

Directed by Lois Anderson • July 2 – September 18 • Howard Family Stage in the Douglas Campbell Theatre

“Pericles takes us to an ancient and exotic pagan world where a hero sets out to win the hand of a princess, and instead uncovers a terrible secret. So begins a thrilling adventure marked by far-flung travels, love lost and found, and unexpected and profound redemption. At the heart of the story is a broken family that yearns to be reunited – but can they find that ultimate happiness? ”


Cast & Creative Team

Ian Butcher – Boult, Simonides
Ian has worked extensively throughout Europe and Canada. He joins this talented cast and crew for his eighth Bard season. Select Bard roles: Oberon, Macduff, and Angelo. Other selected theatre: Dracula (Chemainus), The Sound of Music (Gateway), Robin Hood (Carousel Theatre for Young People), Coriolanus (Coriolanus Co-Op). Film/TV: Motive, Arctic Air, Robocop, Almost Human, Once Upon A Time, The Killing Game, Supernatural, Stargate Universe, and Stargate SG-1. Ian is a graduate of Studio 58. Thanks to the family and Kay.

Kayla Deorksen – Bawd
A graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, Kayla is thrilled to be working with this amazing cast and crew for her third season at Bard. Selected credits: King John, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Falstaff, Henry V (Bard on the Beach); Pride and Prejudice (Arts Club); Speed-the-Plow (Mitch and Murray); Beggar’s Opera (Seven Tyrants); Haunted (Touchstone); Tagged (Green Thumb); and Lascivious Something (Theatre Phantasie). Special thanks to Luc and Kayvon for all their courage and support, and to Ian for being so amazing.

Jeff Gladstone – Dionyza
Jeff returns for his second season with Bard. Theatre credits: The Comedy of Errors and Love’s Labour’s Lost (Bard on the Beach); Twisted Christmas Carol and Red Rock Diner (Arts Club); Measure for Measure (Pacific Theatre); Small Parts (Solo Collective); and Blanche (New York Musical Theatre Festival). Film/media: Drawing Home (MYRA), Circa 1948 (NFB), and The Life Game (CBC Radio). TV credits: The Killing, iZombie, Motive, and Second Chance. Jeff is an improvisor and a co-producer of The Life Game, and performs with his band, Jeff Gladstone & The Bad Ideas.

Luisa Jojic – Brothel Girl
This is Luisa’s sixth season at Bard. Past favourites: Dromio of Syracuse, The Comedy of Errors; Rosaline, Love’s Labour’s Lost; Trincula, The Tempest; Jessica, The Merchant of Venice; and Celia, As You Like It. She is a senior Bard Teaching Artist, was the coordinator of the Young Shakespeareans Workshops (2013- 2015), and is Program Director of the True Voice Theatre Project, a community theatre program in the Downtown Eastside. Luisa is a nominee for the 2016 YWCA Metro Vancouver Women of Distinction Awards in Arts, Culture and Design.

Kayvon Kelly – Leonine, Lysimachus
This is Kayvon’s fourth season at Bard. Born and raised in Saskatoon, Kayvon went to school in Victoria at The Canadian College of Performing Arts. He recently returned from a season at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa where he was a member of the English Theatre ensemble. He is a four-time Jessie nominee – never a bride. He would like to make a special thank you to Christopher Gaze for his belief and support. Love and gratitude to Luc, Bob, Lois, family and Alexandra.

Sereana Malani – Thaisa
Sereana was born in Fiji and raised in Coquitlam. She is a Vancouver based actress returning for her fourth season at Bard. Past credits include Adriana, The Comedy of Errors; Helena, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and Isabella, Measure For Measure. Other theatre: You Will Remember Me (Ruby Slippers); Go, Dog. Go! (Carousel Theatre for Young People); Valley Song (Gateway); and Clybourne Park (Citadel Theatre). She is a graduate of the BFA Acting program from the University of Alberta and the Stage & Screen program at Capilano University.

Kamyar Pazandeh – Pericles
This is Kamyar’s first season at Bard on the Beach. Recent credits include: JD, Heathers: The Musical (Frolicking Divas); Tybalt, Romeo and Juliet (Studio 58); Ernest Simpson, Bertie, Espil, and Diamond, The Duchess (Ruby Slippers); and Jud Fry, Oklahoma! (Studio 58, Ovation Winner for Best Supporting Actor). He is the recipient of the Lloyd Nicholson Memorial Scholarship and the Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation Arts Award. Kamyar is a graduate of Studio 58.

Luc Roderique – Helicanus
Luc is excited and humbled to be back at Bard and working with such passionate and talented artists and friends. Recent theatre: Jungle Book (Carousel Theatre for Young People); Doost (Neworld); The Valley (Belfry); In the Heights (Arts Club); Three Sisters (Only Child); Measure For Measure, Elizabeth Rex, The Merchant of Venice, and As You Like It (Bard on the Beach). Selected film/TV: Motive, The 100, The Flash, iZombie, Seventh Son, Godzilla, and Supernatural. Luc is a Jessie Award winner and a graduate of Studio 58.

David Warburton – Cerimon
This is David’s first season with Bard. Selected credits: The Importance of Being Earnest, Alice, and Stuff Happens (National Arts Centre); August: Osage County, The Tempest, King Lear, and My Fair Lady (Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre); Oliver Twist (Alberta Theatre Projects); Lips Together Teeth Apart (Belfry Theatre); Pride and Prejudice and Calendar Girls (Grand Theatre, London); Henry IV (Shakespeare In The Ruins); The Merchant of Venice and Alice Through the Looking Glass (Stratford Festival); and Where the Wild Things Are and Comet in Moominland (Manitoba Theatre For Young People).

Lois Anderson – Director
Lois is excited to direct her first production at Bard. Bard roles include Viola (Twelfth Night), Kate (The Taming of the Shrew), Helena (All’s Well that Ends Well), Rosalind (As You Like It), and Mistress Overdone (Measure For Measure). She is a UBC grad (BA, BFA, MFA) and has directed for The Arts Club Theatre, Rough House Productions, Leaky Heaven, SFU and UBC. She was a co-creator of Cirque Poule and Flying Blind. Lois has numerous awards including seven Jessie Awards and the Sydney Risk Emerging Director Award. Lois is mom to Anouska and Elena.

Carmen Alatorre – Costume Designer
Originally from Mexico City, Carmen earned her MFA degree in Theatre Design at UBC and has worked as a theatre designer in Vancouver since 2006. Some of her recent design credits include Peter and the Starcatcher and In the Heights (Arts Club); and Stickboy (Vancouver Opera). Carmen is the recipient of a Jessie Richardson Award for her costume design for Crazy for You (Gateway Theatre) and is a proud member of Associated Designers of Canada.


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