The where, and the when, but Pericles

Reynolds, Jim (2015) The where, and the when, but Pericles. In: TaPRA Conference 2015; 08 - 10 Sep 2015, Worcester, U.K.. (Unpublished)


This presentation explores time and endurance through practice-research into Shakespeare’s Pericles. Katie Mitchell’s forensic-Stanislavskian approach to textual analysis was applied in production of an abridged version of the play (2014), with the aim of testing both the idea of contextual solidity, and the means of its discovery through analysing “facts” and “questions”. As a text of both intense ambiguity and hybridity – multiple authors, sources, times, cities, cultures, etc. – Pericles is particularly useful as a means of testing the notion of concrete circumstances being indicators of the temporality of a dramatic text. Indeed, Pericles explodes time by staging survival – unmoors us from it by presenting decades in Pericle’s biography of loss and endurance of trauma. This shattering of dramatic rhythm is further complicated by Pericles’ roots in narratives from different centuries, and its walking of a tightrope between affirmation and resistance. This paper will therefore suggest that the extreme instability of contextual information within the text provides an alternative dramaturgical principle of time to one grounded in the factual or ‘given’, and, by illustrating how the dramaturgy of time adopted for the performance facilitated the actors’ work, provide a way of reformulating and understanding the play as a drama forming a pivotal staging post across millennia for the endurance of ideologies embedded in traditional calendars.

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