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Pericles

Plot Summary

Pericles goes to Antioch as suitor to the daughter of King Antiochus. He solves a riddle, but it reveals a terrible secret about the king, so he has to flee. Unsafe even at home in Tyre, he leaves the trusted Helicanus to govern and sails for Tarsus, where he relieves the city of famine, earning the gratitude of governor Cleon and his wife Dionyza. Pericles is then shipwrecked and washed up on the shores of Pentapolis, where he is rescued by fishermen. They take him to the court of King Simonides, who is celebrating the birthday of his daughter Thaisa with a grand tournament. Pericles, concealing his identity, defeats the many knights jousting for the princess' hand and wins her. Antiochus dies. His life no longer in danger – and his identity finally revealed – Pericles sets sail for Tyre with Thaisa, now pregnant with their first child. During a storm, Thaisa dies giving birth to a daughter and is buried at sea. Pericles lands at Tarsus and entrusts his baby daughter, christened Marina, to the care of Cleon and Dionyza. Thaisa's coffin lands at Ephesus, where she is revived by the physician Cerimon. She enters the temple of Diana as a nun. Fourteen years pass. Marina attracts the envy of Dionyza, who arranges her murder, only for her to be abducted by pirates who sell her into a brothel in Mytilene, where her chastity proves bad for business. Lysimachus, the governor, visiting the brothel in disguise, is greatly impressed by her. Pericles, still wandering the seas, arrives by chance at Mytilene, where his ship is visited by Lysimachus. The latter has Marina brought aboard in an attempt to rouse Pericles from his sorrows. When their conversation reveals her to be his daughter, Pericles is overjoyed. In a dream, the goddess Diana directs him to make sacrifice at her temple in Ephesus and they set sail to accomplish this final act.

RSC Staging History 1960-2007

1969 RST: Terry Hands
Timothy O'Brien (design); John Bradley (lighting); Guy Woolfenden (music)


Ian Richardson (Pericles), Susan Fleetwood (Marina/Thaisa), Emrys James (Gower/Helicanus), Morgan Sheppard (Antiochus/Boult), Derek Smith (Simonides), Brenda Bruce (Dionyza/Bawd), David Bailie (Lysimachus), Geoffrey Hutchings (Cleon), Juliet Ackroyd (Diana), Roger Rees (Patchbreech/Lord), Sydney Bromley (Cerimon), Denis Holmes (Fisherman), Basil Clarke (Philemon), Alton Kumalo (Leonine/Thaliard), Janet Henfrey (Lycorida)

1979 TOP/1980 Warehouse: Ron Daniels
Chris Dyer (design); Leo Leibovici (lighting); Stephen Oliver (music)


Peter McEnery (Pericles), Julie Peasgood (Marina), Griffith Jones (Gower), Emily Richard (Thaisa), Jeffery Dench (Antiochus/First Gentleman/A Pander), Hubert Rees (Simonides), John Matshikiza (Boult/First Knight), Suzanne Bertish (Dionyza/Diana), Heather Canning (Lycorida/Bawd), Peter Clough (Lysimachus), Nigel Terry (Cleon/First Mariner), Clyde Pollitt (Cerimon/First Fisherman), Robert Gwilym (Philemon/Leonine/Sailor), Neil Phillips (Thaliard)

1989 Swan/1990 Pit: David Thacker
Fran Thompson (design); Jimmy Simmons (lighting); Mark Vibrans (music)


Nigel Terry/Rob Edwards (Pericles), Suzan Sylvester (Marina), Rudolph Walker (Gower), Sally Edwards (Thaisa/Diana), Michael Cadman (Antiochus/Sailor/A Pander), Russell Dixon (Simonides/Boult), Jane Maud (Dionyza), Helen Blatch (Bawd/Cerimon), Rob Edwards/Ade Sapara (Lysimachus), Randal Herley (Helicanus), Peter Theedom (Cleon), Ian Driver (Philemon), Harry Miller (Leonine), Niall Refoy (Thaliard), Steven Waddington (Prince/Citizen/Fisherman), Dennis Clinton (Fisherman), Daniel Ryan (Prince/Knight/Citizen)

2002 Roundhouse/2002 RST: Adrian Noble
Peter McKintosh (design); Jean Kalman (lighting); Shaun Davey (music)


Ray Fearon (Pericles), Kananu Kirimi (Marina), Brian Protheroe (Gower), Lauren Ward (Thaisa), Geff Francis (Antiochus), Rolf Saxon (Simonides), Myra Lucretia Taylor (Dionyza), Simon Gregor (Boult), Olwen May (Bawd), Tom Beard (Lysimachus), Roger Frost (Helicanus), Keith Bartlett (Cleon), Jude Akuwudike (Cerimon), Gracy G. Goldman (Philemon), James Telfer (Leonine), James Staddon (Thaliard), Sirine Saba (Prostitute), Fiona Lait (Prostitute/Diana), Felix Dexter (Messenger/Fisherman), Alan Turkington (Knight), Jerome Willis (Fisherman)

2006-07 Swan (Complete Works Festival): Dominic Cooke
Mike Britton (design); Chris Davey (lighting); Gary Yershon (music); Carolyn Downing (sound); Liz Ranken (movement); Terry King (fights)


Lucian Msamati (Pericles), Ony Uhiara (Marina), Joseph Mydell (Gower), Kate Fleetwood (Thaisa), Clarence Smith (Antiochus), Richard Moore (Simonides), Frances Ashman (Dionyza), Richard Katz (Boult), Linda Bassett (Bawd), Nigel Cooke (Lysimachus), Ben Onwukwe (Helicanus), Daniel Dalton (Athenian King), Michelle Terry (Philemon), Amanda Daniels (Lychorida), Robin Lawrence (Master Fisherman), Trystan Gravelle (2nd Fisherman), Simon Harrison (Corinthian Knight), Maynard Eziashi (1st Tyre Lord), Ashley Rolfe (Spartan Lord), Jason Barnett, Nyasha Hatendi, Mark Theodore (Antiochus's Followers)

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