Festival digging deep into Shakespeare


POSTED: Friday, July 17, 2009

Tony Pisculli, Harry Wong III and R. Kevin Doyle founded the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival with the promise that if they survived beyond a few years, they would eventually perform every play the Bard had written.

Of course, that meant all the familiar productions—“;Macbeth”; and “;Romeo & Juliet”; and “;A Midsummer Night's Dream”; and “;Taming of the Shrew.”; But they also promised to get around to all the lesser-known and/or more controversial works that don't get staged quite as often.

Doyle took “;a couple years off”; from the festival, which gave other directors a chance to participate. This year he's back—now officially known as R. Kevin Garcia Doyle, a married man with family responsibilities—and he is back to make good on the promise to dig deep into Shakespeare's work.

Next week, Doyle digs deep into the vault with the opening of “;Pericles, Prince of Tyre”; at the ARTS at Marks Garage.

“;It hasn't been staged in Hawaii ... at least not in my memory in the last 20 years,”; Doyle said recently. “;I went through the archives at Kennedy (Theatre) when I was there, and I don't recall seeing Kennedy having done it during Terry's time (there either).”;

“;Terry”; is UH-Manoa drama professor emeritus Terence Knapp, teacher and mentor of all three festival founders and a classically trained Shakespearean actor.

Why do “;Pericles?”; Like the festival itself, the story begins with “;Terry.”;

“;Terry was in a production (outside Hawaii) in the late '90s, I believe, and he brought back some great photos ... and told all of us who were students at that time stories about being involved,”; said Doyle. “;It piqued my interest.”;

PERICLES, the young ruler of Tyre, finds himself in a no-win situation after he solves a riddle posed by the powerful king of Antioch.





        Part of the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival

» Where: The ARTS at Marks Garage, 1159 Nuuanu Ave.


» When: 7:30 p.m. July 24; continues at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 3:30 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 2


» Cost: $10 to $20


» Info: (800) 838-3006 or hawaiishakes.org


» Note: Free companion lectures by UH-West Oahu professor Brenda Machowsky will be offered at 6:30 p.m. July 25 and July 29.




If Pericles gives the correct answer—that the king is involved in an incestuous relationship with his daughter—the king will have him killed. But, if Pericles keeps the king's secret by giving any other answer, he'll be killed anyway.

So he buys himself some time, leaves a trusted friend as his regent in Tyre, and hits the road, doing good deeds and having a series of adventures. Children are fathered, and loves are won and lost.

Doyle describes it as “;a really interesting play.”;

“;The thing I've been telling people in that it's like a variety show,”; he said. “;In every city (Pericles) arrives in, something different is going on.

“;It has pirates, it has prostitutes, it has a knights' tournament, (and) it has opportunities for dance and for music.”;

“;Q”; stars as Pericles, with Leigh Sholler as Thaisa and Eden-Lee Murray as John Gower, a historical figure who is the narrator of the story. However, the general consensus is that Gower was written into the story by someone who co-wrote the script with Shakespeare.

“;Eden-Lee says her research suggests that Shakespeare didn't write any of her lines for John Gower.”; Doyle said, adding that Knapp suggested that he “;dump”; the first two acts in their entirety for the same reason: “;They weren't written by Shakespeare.”;

He cut 90 percent of the first act, “;a generous portion”; of the second act and then trimmed through the rest of it.

“;Will people be able to listen to (the other parts) and say, 'Hey, that's not Shakespeare'? I don't know that,”; Doyle said. “;Unless you're a real scholar ... (or) an expert, probably not.”;

Do contemporary audiences have the patience and commitment to sit through unedited Shakespeare?

“;I think they do. I think that it all comes down to the quality of the show,”; said Doyle. “;If you're going to do a show that's of sufficiently high quality that holds their interest for hours and hours, people will watch it.

“;It all has to do with the quality of the production.”;

On the other hand, Doyle added, there are limits to how much a tech crew can be called upon to do when a commitment has been made to do three Shakespeare plays in a month's time or less.

“;There are so many other factors than come into play,”; he said. “;I think it comes down to the technical demands of doing three four-hour shows.

“;I'm a fan of the long shows, but it puts a very large demand on the technical resources when we have the shows be that length.”;