The School of Theatre and Dance debuted “Pericles, Prince of Tyre” in the Little Theatre on Nov. 1 with an all-student cast, elaborate lighting and a unique set.
“Pericles, Prince of Tyre” is an exciting play by Shakespeare where the main character journeys in search of a wife, finds her, loses her and regains her in the end.
The play’s tight-knit cast began preparing for the production since the start of the fall semester. Auditions began in the summer of 2018.
During the eight to nine weeks, students learned about their characters, rehearsed lines and even had workouts in preparation for the production.
“We did lots of imaginative and physical improvisations early in the rehearsal process using the techniques of the great acting teacher Michael Chekhov to help actors find their characters and to develop strong relationships between them,” director and professor Bruce Avery said.
“That work requires lots of physical strength and stamina, so we’d start every rehearsal with strenuous workouts,” Avery said.
Avery has directed eight productions and teaches at SF State, specializing in Shakespeare.
The cast of “Pericles, Prince of Tyres” consists of 19 students, primarily of theater arts majors at SF State.
Jasmine Afshar, theater arts major, plays Thaisa, Prince Pericles’ wife. Besides “Pericles, Prince of Tyre,” Afshar has also played in “Hair,” a past production at SF State. Preparing for the debut of “Pericles, Prince of Tyre” challenged Afshar to try new acting methods.
“For me, it was challenging in different ways,” Afshar said. “For ‘Hair,’ it was a challenge, but not too much. I think it was more [challenging] technique wise and that was such a learning experience for me. This time, I mean, I never had to cry on stage before.”
Ricky Augustin, theater arts major, plays King Antiochus and King Cleon in the show. Augustin is also taking a costuming class and even made part of his costume for when he plays King Antiochus. Augustin has been practicing theater for eight years, and this production is his second at SF State.
Augustin’s preparation for “Pericles, Prince of Tyre” included studying his characters through finding archetypes of his character to give him insight on how to portray them in the production.
Something that cast members noted about this Shakespeare play is that the set for “Pericles, Prince of Tyre” really helped the show and their performance.
“It has helped our show evolve, and just grow further. It really puts you in the Mediterranean,” Augustine said.
The set for “Pericles, Prince of Tyre” boats lighting that adjusts throughout the show to embody different times of day. In the center of the stage are levels that look like they’re made out of stone that cast members perform on. Towards the back of the stage are modeled to look like masts of a ship, that is also used as a prop in the show.
“It’s one of the most beautiful sets that I’ve worked on, and that I’ve seen in general,” Afshar said.
Directing “Pericles, Prince of Tyre” brought Avery and his cast together.
“I love them all. They’re like my children now. They were willing to do anything we asked with commitment and joy. It’s been one of my most cherished experiences, period,” Avery said.
“Pericles, Prince of Tyre” will be playing in the Little Theatre until Nov. 10. Tickets cost $18 for the general public and $13 for students.