Feb 7, 2016

Adventures with Pericles



For my last birthday Chuck gave me tickets to go see Pericles at the Guthrie. We've become rather fascinated by the theater lately. We were filled with anticipation as the night approached. We had no idea what the performance would be about other than the brief description on the Guthrie website:

Enter Pirates! Set sail with Pericles, Prince of Tyre, on an action-packed, epic journey. In heroic fashion, Pericles woos a princess, fights a famine, weathers storms and a shipwreck, wins the hand of his wife, loses her at sea, and entrusts his only child to a king and queen. From a riddle to a heartrending reunion, Shakespeare’s tale charts one man’s sweeping voyage from a headstrong youth to a sage, world-weary man, with humor, pathos and passion.


Sounds good to us. Little did we know it would not be in English. At least modern day English. This was real, literal Shakespeare people! Not an adaptation. Not a revised version. Not a modern day reenactment. This was the real McCoy. And we were beyond confused.

We sat there befuddled from the very beginning. We each thought the other knew what was happening. I'm afraid this confession shows our level of intellect. Not that we don't enjoy intellectual pursuits - just not on the Shakespearean level. At intermission (Chuck referred to it as 'halftime') we looked at each other and bust out laughing. "Do you have a clue what's happening?" he asks me. I dug deep to come up with an answer that sounded like I appreciate this gift of time at the theater together without telling him I had no clue what it was we were watching, "Well....I think I understand it by context clues. But I don't actually understand any of the words."

We felt like we were sitting at the Big People table when we should have been at the Kids' Table. We were clueless as to the conversation. I once met a family who would all sit around the dinner table reciting Shakespearean quotes to each other and laughing in response to the prose. I felt completely out of my league. My idea of funny dinnertime quotes is Brian Regan. Speaking of which, he has a skit that precisely describes how we felt. Even though it deals with opera, this could also come in handy during an evening out with Shakepeare . I believe our endeavor of trying to be more cultured would have been better accomplished if it followed this ideology:




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