Porters' PERICLES Sets Sail Next Week at The Whitmore
Pericles marks the 24th Shakespearean Production for the Porters on their quest to completing the canon.
Artistic Director Charles Pasternak returns to the directing chair and Leon Russom to the boards. They last worked together on 2014's production of Henry V, a critical and audience hit, which received Ovation, Broadway World, and VAlley Theatre Award nominations.
Pericles tells the Homeric story of its title character's journeys: his flight from the evils of Antioch, his salvation of Tarsus, his discovery of love in Pentapolis, and the loss of his wife in childbirth at sea. Through these trials and tribulations the boy becomes a man. The latter half of the play focuses on the trials of his daughter Marina, who escapes murder in Tarsus only to be abducted and sold to a brothel in Mytelene. Her escape from that brothel and arrival on her father's ship - each ignorant of the identity of the other - is the play's climactic scene, one of mutual discovery and rebirth. Director Pasternak considers it, "easily one of the most beautiful scenes Shakespeare ever wrote."
Further addressing the play, director Pasternak said: "Like all of Shakespeare's late plays, Pericles is mythic in design though personal in scope. It is our task to embrace both the mythic and the personal in our telling of this story. It is a story of foreigners, of refugees, of the homeless and lost. Those that embrace them are rewarded; those that use them ill are punished. This speaks directly to the world of the Syrian refugee crises and the building of a wall. Our fear is turning our society against outsiders, against the other. Pericles speaks against this; the myth this play speaks to is rebirth (both personal and societal) through open hearts and open arms."
Pericles will feature Leon Russom as the various kings Pericles encounters on his travels (Antiochus, Cleon, and Simonides) showing the range of this prolific actor's talents, rounded off by the brothel enforcer Bolt in the latter half of the play. Mr. Russom is perhaps most famous for throwing a coffee mug at Jeff Bridges head as the Sherriff of Malibu in the Coen Brothers' "Big Lebowski", but LA theatre-goers and critics have been able to enjoy his brilliant stage career firsthand. Highlights include award-nominated performances in Buried Child, Henry V, And Neither Have I Wings to Fly, Endgame, and Juno and the Paycock. He first joined the Porters as Gloucester in King Lear, alongside Larry Cedar in the title role. Most recently, he took on the role of Lear himself with the Loft Ensemble.
Joining the Porters for the first time, Pericles will star Luke McClure in the title role. Luke's LA theatre credits include The Boomerang Effect at the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and long-running Yellow at the Coast Playhouse. Also in her debut with the Porters, Mara Klein stars as Marina. Mara's LA credits include Blueberry Toast with Echo Theatre Company and Macbeth with the Loft Ensemble.
Rounding out the cast are Dana Lyn Baron as Dionyza, Thomas Bigley as Pander, Will Block as Lysimachus, Jono Eiland as Cerimon, Douglas Gabrielle as Helicanus, Cindy Nguyen as Diana, Zach Russom as Thaliard, Liza de Weerd Seneca as the Bawd, and Alexandra Wright as Thaisa.
Mr. Pasternak founded the Porters in 2006 and has since directed thirteen productions for the company. He is an award-winning actor and director whose work has carried him across the country. Recent Shakespearean credits include work with The Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, The Clarence Brown Theatre, The Indiana Repertory Theatre, The Sierra Repertory Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and The Denver Center, among many others.
PERICLES opens Saturday, April 29 at 8pm, at: The Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center, 11006 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood. It runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm, closing June 4.