Brimming with magic and romance, William Shakespeare's The Tempest, plays in the intimate Severson Theatre tonight, February 21 through March 20, 2013. The play sweeps us through stormy seas to an island where airy and earthly spirits captivate or free us. Come, be swept ashore and feel the fluttering of every winged word in this lyrical romance.
Patricia M. Troxel directs The Tempest with a fresh interpretation, choosing to pass on the customary paths of either setting the play in the Bahamas (the location of the original source material), or going the science fiction route, placing the story somewhere in the future and leaning on the play's colonialism suggestions. Instead, PCPA's Tempest will be set around 1900 on an island known as Socotra, located off the Yemen peninsula. Troxel said "It's a magical place, if ever one existed! The colors, flora, and cultural traditions shape many of this production's visual and audial elements."
At its essence, the play tells us we each have the capacity to learn, to transform, to free ourselves and others, and to forgive. "This is a play about art's power to lead our self-discovery, liberation, and reconciliation," added Troxel.
The Tempest features an original composition by Elisabeth Rebel (PCPA's Resident Sound Designer), Scenic Design by DeAnne Kennedy, Costume Design by Frederick P. Deeben, Lighting Design by Tamar Geist, and Sound Design by Alberto Yong. Heather Patterson is the Stage Manager.
Among the cast are Resident Equity Actors Andrew Philpot as Prospero, Peter S. Hadres as Alonso, Quinn Mattfeld as Stephano, Michael Jenkinson as Trinculo and Elizabeth Stuart as Goddess of Marriage. Also cast are Resident Artists Karin Hendricks as Ariel, Leo Cortez as Antonio, and Guest Artist George Walker as Caliban. 2nd year acting students Jasmine Sim and Lafras la Roux will play Miranda and Ferdinand respectively.
Written around 1611, The Tempest is believed to be Shakespeare's last play. Deserted on an island, the rightful Duke of Milan, Prospero, conjures a tempest to shipwreck his usurping brother Antonio and Alonso, King of Naples. Ferdinand, the king's son, believes all others aboard the ship have drowned. When he meets Prospero's daughter Miranda, they immediately fall in love. Some of the survivors of the shipwreck conspire with Caliban, Prospero's beastly slave, to murder Prospero. But it is up to the wrongly banished ruler of Milan who now must decide whether to use his mystic arts to revenge or to forgive.
Among its' many adaptations, The Tempest was recently produced as a feature film directed by Julie Taymor (2010) which starred Helen Mirren and FeliciTy Jones. Other productions (and not necessarily holding true to Shakespeare's script) have featured such actors as John Cassavetes and Peter Fonda with the earliest film version dating back to 1905. The classic sci-fi film of the Forbidden Planet was based on The Tempest. Reportedly John Gielgud played Prospero several times and called it his favorite role. Over 40 operas have been written based on The Tempest along with ballets and orchestral works, including Tchaikovsky's fantasy The Tempest and Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minor which is subtitled The Tempest.
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