Berkeley Rep’s Pericles: Prince of Tyre-less theatrics

Apr 18

Berkeley Rep’s <i>Pericles</i>: Prince of Tyre-less theatrics

There's a rough beauty to director Mark Wing-Davey's Pericles, Prince of Tyre now on Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Thrust Stage. The industrial look of the bi-level set by Douglas Stein and Peter Ksander indicates that this will be a utilitarian telling of this dubious Shakespeare tale – dubious only because we don't really know how much (if any) of the play the Bard actually wrote.

From the giant crane that hoists everything from crystal chandeliers to pirates' nets to the goddess Diana, to the sliding metal doors that bang and clang during scene transitions, this is a production that revs and lurches like an engine that could use a little more tuning

But that's not to say that this re-imagining of Pericles by Wing-Davey and Jim Calder isn't entertaining or even, at times, quite captivating.

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Titus serves up revenge, blood rare and steaming hot

Jun 09

<i>Titus</i> serves up revenge, blood rare and steaming hot

Director Joel Sass has such a strong, infectious sense of storytelling that he even makes Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, proclaimed to be the Bard’s bloodiest play, enjoyable.

It’s not that the play, which has a single issue on its gory mind – the futility and waste of revenge – isn’t interesting. It’s compelling and hideous at the same time.

But what Sass does for the California Shakespeare Theater’s season-opening production of Titus – the first in Cal Shakes’ 37-year history – is heighten the theatricality of the tale, elevate it to grand and glorious storytelling rather than an endlessly horrific parade of one bloody special effect after another.

This is a muscular production of a tough play, mean in spirit and humor. If Shakespeare’s goal is to illuminate the way ego-driven revenge turns life into a cesspit for everyone involved, he certainly succeeds.

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Review: `Pericles’

Jun 01

California Shakespeare Theater production opened May 31, 2008, Bruns Amphitheater, Orinda The eight-member cast of California Shakespeare Theater’s Pericles puts on a jousting pageant on stage at the Bruns Memorial Amphitheater in Orinda. Photos by Kevin Berne Cal Shakes season opens with radiant romp«««« Rich, rewarding, adventurous Presented as a...

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