Scoop Review of Books

Shakespeare’s Pericles Blended


It’s Shakespeare as you’ve never seen it – put into a cultural blender of Asian theatre forms to create a visually stunning hybrid performance of The Bard’s fantastical tale of Pericles.

According to Director, Dr Megan Evans, Victoria’s senior undergraduate students have incorporated the Chinese theatre form of Jingju and the Japanese forms of Noh, Kyōgen, Kabuki and Bunraku to put a different spin on Shakespeare’s take of princesses, prostitutes and kings.

“The epic scope and fantastic events of the play are well suited to staging inspired by the spectacle-driven Kabuki, the fluid movement of Jingju, the spiritual elegance of Noh and the good-hearted fun of Kyōgen.”

The Japanese puppet theatre form of Bunraku influences the narration and ‘dumbshows’ of the production, while the other forms inspire the acting styles, supporting musical structures, set and costume design of the different locations.

The students’ study has been guided by Dr Evans’ previous training at the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts in Beijing and the University of Hawai’i at Mānao Asian Theatre Programme.

“Pericles is a play full of love and loss, competition and deceit,” says Dr Evans.

“With elaborate costumes and sets, extensive stylisation and a commitment to transform the Shakespearean tradition with Asian convention, this show is not to be missed.”

Victoria University presents Pericles in coalition with the ‘Compleate Works’ Shakespeare programme, offering a unique opportunity for Wellington audiences to encounter the intersection between several great world theatre traditions.

What: Theatre 303 presents Pericles
Where: Studio 77, 77 Fairlie Terrace (Gate 10 of Victoria University’s Kelburn Campus)
When: 7.30pm Tuesday 6 – Saturday 10 October 2009
To Book: email or call (04) 463 5359.