Tricia Bestic and John Kolibab
Cesear's Forum is dedicated to presenting unconventional, new or lesser known plays that explore theory and technique to reveal aspects of the social, political, economic and ideological properties of daily life. The company produces intermittently, on a project by project basis (unusual in Cleveland), one or two plays per year, rather than a traditional seasonal approach. Performing at Kennedy's Down Under (below the Ohio Theatre) at PlayhouseSquare, this small non-profit theatre has established a distinctive body of work within a minimalist imprimatur. Currently on hiatus, Cesear's Forum recently (April/May 2013) presented PERHAPS, PERICLES , by William Shakespeare and George Wilkins. In adapting the play, Artistic Director Greg Cesear approached the work from the acting and evaluating point of view of four actors.
In the Arden Shakespeare Third Series edition of the PERICLES text, Suzanne Gossett gives readers a detailed introduction to the play's history and notable productions. She writes: «The unusual shape of PERICLES poses problems and offers opportunities to theatre directors.» She goes on to say: «Inevitably the productions form screens onto which directors project not only their culture's obsessions but their own.»
Recent productions and adaptations of PERICLES seem to confirm this analysis. Whatever the approach, directors seem to find enough relevance and theatricality to challenge audiences with continuing interpretations.
Gilgamesh Taggett and Rachel Wolin
We met many company/production goals with our production. Audience response during the production and feedback afterward was primarily positive. Discussion of the text (both original and as adapted), the combination of prose and poetry, the play within the play and an understanding of the disjointed (confusing) nature of the plot, action and language shift from Act I to Act II, seemed to educate and be enjoyed or at least appreciated. The production was classical, minimalist yet modern and unique as a regional offering. At 90 minutes, with a fifteen minute intermission, it seemed the perfect length for a contemporary audience. The actors comprised two Equity and two non-union actors (the latter provided an opportunity for one university student). Attendance included our core audience base, Kent State and Cleveland State theatre faculty and students, individual ticket buyers from varying age and income demographics. Comparative review analysis with two other productions of PERICLES running nationally (Berkley Rep, CA and Actors' Shakespeare Project, MA) indicates that our production found the correct balance between parody and drama. The experimentation did not lose sight of the storytelling's intent.
Cesear's Forum will not be producing again until fall of 2014. Information on that work will be forthcoming.