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Bootleg Shakespeare Brings Impromptu ‘Pericles’ to RVA

“No structured rehearsal process, until the day of the performance”

MatthewLeonard | October 22, 2013

The rehearsal process is usually an important part of a play’s production. It allows the cast and crew to fix any big problems before opening night, and it provides a time to make sure everyone is on the same page. But in a bootleg performance, the audience, actors, and director are all seeing the show performed for the first time.

“No structured rehearsal process, until the day of the performance,” said James Ricks who will be directing Richmond’s fifth annual Bootleg Shakespeare.

This years performance is Pericles, one of Shakespeare’s lesser known works. The story of incest, a riddle, and a thrilling journey all tangled together for the main character, Pericles. The five act play allows the audience to meet a broad range of characters who appear in the multitude of settings provided by Pericles’ travel.

Being one of the lesser known works of one of the greatest playwrights in history has its upside for many involved, says Ricks. Firstly, it means those involved likely don’t have expectations for how the play is to be performed. The actors don’t have countless famous performances to live up to, and the director is able to bring forth more original ideas. It’s great for the audience as well.

“it’s a Shakespeare play that they have no preconceived notions of,” Ricks said.

This is Ricks’ fifth time directing a bootleg performance and he says they’ve all gone off without any problems. He spends the month leading up to the performance in constant contact with the cast, going over dialogue, and making sure high traffic scenes are well choreographed.

“They have 30 days to memorize lines, put together costumes and props, learn their cues, and make sure they feel as comfortable as they can before they throw themselves in the deep end,” said Ricks.

While, Ricks may be directing the play he said, “this production is really driven by the actors.” And it’s true with this bootleg production, even more so than usual.

The play will be performed at The Children’s Theatre of Virginia (formerly Barksdale Theatre), October, 26th. Best of all, this is a free performance – TICKETS ARE FIRST COME FIRST SERVE – so get their early:

1601 Willow lawn Drive • Richmond, VA 23230 at 6:30 PM

For more information visit Henley Street Theater’s website.