Shakespeare Society put on its Fall 2014 production of “The Tempest” over the two weekends before Thankgiving. Directed by Katie Suchyta ’15, “The Tempest” is the story of the magician Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan and his daughter Miranda, all of whom have been stranded on an island for 12 years due to the duke’s brother Antonio, who usurped the throne from Prospero. Prospero is grudgingly served by a spirit, Ariel. With the promise of Ariel’s imminent release, Ariel and Prospero conjure up a storm and use magic to lure Antonio and the King Alonso of Naples to the island and restore both Miranda and Prospero to their rightful places. Along the way, Miranda and Ferdinand, Alonso’s son, fall in love and marry.
Shakespeare Society produced an intensely captivating and humorous show. Throughout the play, the excellent usage of lighting and sound in such a tiny venue, the top floor of the Shakespeare House, kept me engaged in the story. The characters of Ariel and Caliban, the villainous island native, were played by three and two different actresses, respectively. Seeing how these actresses played each role added to the overall understanding of the characters. All of the costumes, from Ariel’s ethereal gowns and shimmering makeup, to the realistic, rough beards of the men and the scales and glittery green on Caliban were impressive. The costumes were not period-restrictive pieces, but ageless.
The same timelessness applied to the overall interpretation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” The production captured modern-day humor in a two-hour time span with the drunken Caliban and comically overprotective father Prospero.
The acting throughout the show was enchanting. Arlevea Freeman ’15, who played Prospero, was stern yet passionate in her monologue and held a definite presence on stage. Catherine Piner ’16, Elisabeth Yancey ’16 and Taylor D’Andrea ’15, who all played Ariel, added multiple dimensions to the character. It was even more exciting when they moved as one, especially as they simultaneously whipped their heads to look at Prospero in one of the scenes. Lily Harper ’15, who played Miranda, was doe-eyed and delightful. In combination with Isaac Zerkle ’18, who charmingly played Ferdinand, they created an adorable and heart-warming storyline.
Overall, the stage direction was well-thought and beautifully executed. For example, there was a scene where a group of dancers skillfully brought out a meal for most of the main characters.
The entire play flowed seamlessly, and there was not a dull moment. “The Tempest” showings are already complete for the season, but look forward to another Shakespeare Society production next semester.