Whole lotta Shakespeare going on

As noon approached last Wednesday, a troupe of actors descended upon Hutchinson Courtyard, bed sheets and instruments in tow. They began to prepare—draping themselves in the linens, tuning a violin, and testing their microphones. The ladders, speakers, and benches they had set up became castles and ships, and Pericles, Prince of Tyre began.

At ORCSA's request, the Dean’s Men, a student group devoted to performing Shakespeare on campus, was to present a Shakespeare play over four consecutive summer Wednesdays. The series, “Shakes and Shakespeare,” also features free milkshakes for attendees—which in this case spanned grad students to grade-school summer campers, who teemed on the courtyard's grassy slopes, awaiting the treats. Last Wednesday marked the first installment, and the final chapter runs August 13.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre features incest, famine, shipwrecks, magic, murder, and prostitution. While it may not be Shakespeare’s best loved or most performed comedy, director Benno Nelson, AB’08, chose the play because its episodic nature lends itself to easy serialization. The cast of seven undergraduates plays dozens of characters.

In the first scene, King Antioch (a spot-on menacing Greg Brew, ’10) and Pericles (a brooding Griffin Sharps, ’09) admire the beauty of Antioch’s daughter, whom Pericles intends to marry. Antioch says her “face, like heaven, enticeth thee to view her countless glory, which desert must gain; and which, without desert, because thine eye presumes to reach, all thy whole heap must die.” Hearing “dessert” for “desert,” one excited camper assumed the actors were offering him a shake. “Yes, I’d like my ice cream now!” he exclaimed, scooting closer to the stage.

Rose Schapiro, '09

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Photos (left to right): Ryland Barton, '09, as Gower, the narrator; Greg Brew, '10, and Griffin Sharps, '09, discuss Pericles' dilemma; children watch the performance and drink their milkshakes; Brew, Evan Cudworth, '09, and Anna Aizman, '08, play fishermen.

July 30, 2008