STORY WRITTEN BY LEAH PROCTOR-FORD
For Digital First Media
Exotic adventures, dark mysteries, and enchanting love carry a handsome warrior around the Mediterranean Sea in Shakespeare’s romantic “Pericles,” which previews today, opens July 24 and continues through Aug. 2 at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival on the Center Valley campus of DeSales University.
Pericles, played by long-time PSF Christopher Patrick Mullen, tells the tale heroic of a young man in a love with the daughter of a King who wants him killed. To avoid this fate the Prince sails a treacherous sea and contemplates a riddle that could be the answer to all of his problems.
“Pericles” is PSF’s fourth production in five years to mimic the structure — or, lack thereof — of Shakespeare’s company in that the show’s actors rehearse and open before an audience in a matter of days.
“We call it ‘extreme Shakespeare.’ Actors in Shakespeare’s time were believed to perform on short notice and present dozens of plays in the span of a few weeks.”
This format excludes a director, and even designers, as these roles did not exist in Shakespeare’s era. Instead, the company of 18 actors are given artistic reign to fulfill a production that is unique to their collaborative efforts.
“The goal is to bring the audience a bit closer to the ‘crackling now’ energy of an Elizabethan theatre and to showcase the extraordinary creative capacity of the actor,” stated Producing Artistic Director Patrick Mulcahy in a press release. This “capacity” is exemplified by the actor’s freedom to fashion their own costumes and commandeer props from other Festival productions.
Performances are Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Single ticket prices start at $25. Prices vary based on performance day, time, seating location, and availability. To order tickets call 610-282-WILL  or online at www.pashakespeare.org.
Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival continues with “The Foreigner” alternating in repertory with “Henry V” (through August 2) on the Main Stage and “Shakespeare for Kids” (July 22 through August 1) and Rapunzel (through August 1).
“The Foreigner” is Larry Shue’s American comedy about a shy Englishman named Charlie who takes a much-needed holiday to a rural fishing lodge in Georgia.
“Shakespeare for Kids” is a high energy, one-hour production designed for children ages 4 to 10 to actively experience Shakespeare’s vibrant language and characters. This time around, Team Shakespeare introduces kids to the magic and mischief of the kid-friendliest of characters and situations from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
For more information on the annual festival, go to www.pashakespeare.org.