April 24, 2006 |
The Tempest, Shakespeare's last play, is stuffed with juicy roles and theatrical opportunities: a magical island full of mysterious creatures, an exiled duke turned wizard, a shipwreck, a love story, and an enslaved sprite who casts spells on buffoons and drunks and fops and wicked aristocrats. It's a strange, gorgeous world. So it's an odd Tempest that takes place on a bare stage. Even odder, this latest production from Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival stars the monster Caliban.
June 25, 2012 |
Strong acting and bold direction too often overshadow the work that a design team contributes to a play's success. In the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's staging of The Tempest, the designers provide all the elements that make this production memorable. Not that the actors and director Jim Helsinger don't uphold the Festival's high standards. Greg Wood delivers a compelling, sympathetic performance as Prospero, the deposed Duke of Milan exiled for 15 years on a remote island with his daughter Miranda (the earnest and endearing Kelsey Formost)
December 17, 2010 |
It figures that Julie Taymor, theater magician of The Lion King , film conjurer of Across the Universe , Shakespeare interpreter who made her movie debut with Titus , would be drawn to The Tempest , the one about the sorcerer who unsettles the seas before settling scores. Boldly Taymor changes Prospero's gender, casting the magnificent Helen Mirren as Prospera, cast away with her daughter, Miranda, on a remote island where the sorceress rescues the sprite Ariel and enslaves the creature Caliban.
January 28, 1993 |
No thunder and lightning, no alarums and hullabaloo attend the conjured shipwreck at the start of Shakespeare's valedictory masterpiece, The Tempest, in the revelatory Arden Theatre Company production that opened Tuesday for a month-long run. No shipwreck, in fact, is set before us - just a toy schooner, bobbing high above Hiroshi Iwasaki's draped and platformed set, that crosses from right to left until it is gently, silently plucked from its...
May 22, 2007 |
There are few theatrical experiences more transformative than a first encounter with Shakespeare. His portrayal of the human soul in every guise, 400 years on, remains vital and magical. He has birthed generations of theater lovers, and despite the many distractions invented for potential audiences in the years since the Globe Theater's first opening night, he still manages to fill houses across the actual globe. Of course, transformations can go the other way too, and there may be no more scarring dramatic experience than sitting through a long night of bad Shakespeare.
July 25, 1990 |
Pastorius Park in Chestnut Hill is a lovely setting for the productions of the company known as Shakespeare in the Park. The sloping terrain around the park's languid waterway, contained and crossed by picturesque stone walls and bridges, provides both a natural amphitheater and a delightful place to spend a couple of hours on a summer evening. On one hand, the relaxing, sylvan ambience of the park enhances the gentle, romantic, humorous aspects of The Tempest, the company's current Shakespeare presentation.
May 1, 2012 |
Theater companies cut Shakespeare to reflect casting, to indulge shortened attention spans, or to center the play on a director's artistic vision or insight, among other reasons. Curio Theatre's current production of The Tempest proves that a bit of risk lies in any of these approaches. And, like any gamble, it also hints at large, if quick, rewards. The Tempest's traditional three-hour run time presents one of Shakespeare's most straightforward plots. Courtly treachery dethroned Duke Prospero (Brian McCann)
November 13, 1992 |
Actors From the London Stage - the group presenting The Tempest at the Annenberg Center - believe, according to a program note, in the "power of Shakespeare's words in performance, and in the rich possibilities created by the imaginations of a participating audience. " To that end, the troupe, which has been visiting here regularly for several years, presents Shakespeare with no sets, no costumes, rudimentary stage lighting, a prop here and there, and five actors doubling and tripling in roles.
March 18, 1997 |
The opening scene of Louis Rackoff's new production of The Tempest, on view through April 12 at the People's Light & Theatre Company, makes you eager to see what follows. On a platform at stage right, the magician Prospero is writing the story you're about to witness, complete with stage directions and introductory dialogue: Master: Boatswain, - Boatswain: Here, master; what cheer? And immediately we hear those words shouted as a storm breaks, hurling master, boatswain, and their assorted passengers about the stage while Ariel, Prospero's sprite, conjures the thunder by rattling a tin sheet.
July 11, 1994 |
"The isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs/that give delight and hurt not," Caliban tells Stephano and Trinculo in The Tempest. He might have been giving a subtle warning to the opera composers who can't keep their mitts off Shakespeare's final play. Several dozen have tried, though their efforts are so rarely staged they may as well be lost at sea. Among the brave recent attempts is Peter Westergaard's The Tempest, which was given its world premiere Friday by the Opera Festival of New Jersey.