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020911EyeOnArts_PericlesWilliam Shakespeare’s drama, “Pericles,” will be presented by UNCG Theatre Feb. 18-27, in Taylor Building Theatre.

The production is directed by graduate student Kate Muchmore, who says the play is an epic world journey in which Pericles finds himself fleeing for his life. He faces the dilemma of solving a riddle posed by a king – but knows that to answer the riddle either correctly or incorrectly will ultimately cost him his life.

Muchmore believes audiences will enjoy “Pericles” because it tells an epic tale of travel and travail, with larger forces working behind the lives of the hero.

“When I read the play for the first time, it reminded me of those exciting epic movies where miracles happen and there is a divine purpose behind the hero or heroine’s life,” said Muchmore. “ I love the spirituality in the play, that there is an acceptance of larger forces working behind the scenes of humanity and a hope in the fact that there’s more going on around us than we realize and acknowledge.

“It is also a story of restoration and rebirth. The characters in this play are broken and suffering. Life is dangerous. There is a journey that must be taken in order to reach this restoration, but ultimately the restoration comes through the grace of the gods, not through any human effort.”

Performance times will be at 8 p.m. on Feb. 18-19 and 25-26; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22-24; 2 p.m. Feb. 20 and 27; and a 10 a.m. matinee for high school students Feb. 25. Tickets cost $15 general admission, $12 seniors and non-UNCG students, $9 for UNCG alumni and groups of 10 or more, and $7 for UNCG students, through the UNCG Box Office at 336-334-4849 or boxoffice@uncg.edu.

“Pericles’” large cast is composed of 33 MFA, BFA and BA actors. Key roles are played by Stephen Spencer as Pericles; David Godshall, Gower; Katie Esswein, Marina; Rebecca Bruder, Diana; and Molly Davis, Thaisa. The set and staging will reflect the countries and cultures visited by Pericles. Each has a distinct atmosphere and projects a combination of danger and stability, brokenness and restoration. Designers are Margaret Toomey, set; Amanda Carsner, costumes; and Matt Sale, lighting.

In today’s troubled world, Muchmore believes that Shakespeare still draws contemporary audiences, and his language is still relevant. She saw this firsthand over the summer as she traveled to some Shakespeare Festivals over the summer to prepare for her directing assignment.

“The theaters were packed,” she said. “Shakespeare was a brilliant playwright who was, and continues to be, a gift to the world stage. He wrote some of the best plays ever written, for their poetry, emotion and sheer guts. He shows the insides of humanity in all of our glorious weaknesses, strengths and passions. The theatre would be a very different enterprise today had Shakespeare never lived.

“I think our society in the 21st century has grown cynical and skeptical of everything around us. It is not a very hopeful world. Every day on the news we are bombarded with negativity and fear, no matter what side of the political or social debate we sit on. It is my hope that this production can restore hope in the miraculous for our audiences.”

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