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Pericles

November 30

January 18, 2015

in CST's Courtyard Theater

by William Shakespeare
directed by David H. Bell

The Story

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, when time was neither here nor there…

Pericles, Prince of Tyre, comes to Antioch to guess a riddle propounded by the King. If he guess rightly, he will win the hand of the Princess. If he guesses wrongly, he will be put to death. The riddle teaches him that the Princess is living incestuously with her father.

Horrified, Pericles returns home but is forced to flee to Tharsus to escape the King’s vengeance/ At Tharsus, city of Cleon and Dionyza, he relieves a famine. Setting sail again, he is shipwrecked off the coast of Pentapolis, where he goes jousting at the court of King Simonides and wins the hand of Thaisa, the King’s daughter.

Some months later, word comes that Antiochus is dead and Pericles the new King.  He sails to claim his kingdom but tragedy overtakes him on the voyage. The ship is caught in a storm and his wife Thaisa dies in childbirth. Her body is placed in casket and buried at sea. The casket drifts ashore at Ephesus and the body is restored to life by a physician with magical power. Thaisa, thinking her husband dead, becomes a votaries of the goddess Diana. Meanwhile, Pericles reaches Tharsus and leaves his infant daughter Marina to be brought up by Cleon and Dionyza. Certain that his wife is dead, he withdraws from the world.

The years pass. Marina grows up and outshines the daughter of Dionyza. Jealous of Marina, Dionyza arranges the girl’s murder but the plan goes awry and Marina is carried off by pirates and sold to the brothel at Mytilene. There she remains a virgin by converting her clients, among them Lysimachus Governor of Mytilene, who falls in love with her. Pericles, grief stricken at the loss of his child as well as wife, reaches Mytilene in his wanderings. He meets Marina there and learns she is his daughter. In a vision, the goddess Diana bids him to go to her temple at Ephesus where he finds Thaisa and the family is reunited. 

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