February 25, 2016

“What shall be next,” says Gower, the sorely taxed narrator of Shakespeare’s complicated romance “Pericles,” preparing to introduce the next knot in the yarn. Well, you might reasonably think, what shall not be next? Even by the standards of the late romances, rich in strange reversals and fantastical happenings, “Pericles” stands out for its tumultuous story line. Here we have not one but two shipwrecks, along with enough successful sea journeys for its hero to rack up major frequent-sailor miles. (Do you get double miles for shipwrecks?) Also: incest, a band of pirates and an innocent maid forced into a brothel, to mention just a few of the woollier elements in this rarely produced play. Just how exotic it is might be measured by the fact that Trevor Nunn, who ran both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theater in England — both ample producers of Shakespeare, I need hardly say — has never before directed the play. (By his count, there are only two others he has not directed — yet.) The Theater for a New Audience production of “Pericles,” which opened on Thursday at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn, also marks Mr. Nunn’s first American staging of a Shakespeare play.