Shakespeare’s ‘Pericles’ embraces plight of refugees and immigrants

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Encompassing issues relevant to today’s contentious times, The Porters of Hellsgate’s production of William Shakespeare’s Pericles features fine acting and gorgeous staging as it explores the trials and tribulations of the wandering Pericles (Luke McClure), which turn the boy into a man.

At one turn savior, another villain, the traveler experiences how the blessings and acceptance of others expands his life in many ways.

As desperately in need as any Syrian refugee or homeless immigrant, young Pericles experiences an epic quest, escaping evils and torments while rescuing one society and falling in love. He falls into despair at the supposed losing of his wife and daughter, but can hope be resurrected, and those providing aid be rewarded, while those displaying hatred be punished?

Director Charles Pasternak creates a powerful, passionate production always on the move and prowl. His creative, almost steampunk staging contains visceral might in its choreography, lighting and sound work, aided by energetic tempo and poetic line readings. The moving chorus adds dynamic emotion and force.

The strong cast brings a forceful realism to proceedings—lighthearted and jovial one moment, venal and depraved the next. McClure gives a charming, vulnerable performance as the questioning young soldier, while Leon Russom displays expressive range and emotional voice in the roles of three kings and a porter. Mara Klein shines with her combination of sensitivity and confidence.

Pericles is a powerful demonstration of society working for the betterment of all.

The Porters of Hellsgate present Shakespeare and Wilkins’ “Pericles” Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm through June 4th at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center located at 11006 Magnolia Blvd. in North Hollywood. Tickets are $20. Visit BrownPaperTickets.com or for further information email portersofhellsgate@gmail.com.

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