Durango Telegraph - 'The Tempest' redux
'The Tempest' redux

Shakespeare’s last play is set on an enchanted island where Prospero rules. He is a man with a mysterious past and tremendous magical powers. The former Duke of Milan, Prospero (Erik Andersson) has been in exile for a dozen years. He has surrounded himself with only a few other creatures: his daughter Miranda (Rebecca Thurston), his half-man/half-beast slave Caliban (Adam Fontana), and another servant, the spirit Ariel (Harmony Rose). Into this world comes Prospero’s enemy, his power-hungry brother, Antonio (John Christensen) and the new Duke’s entourage. In the DHS production, some creative casting has turned the King of Naples into a queen (Cait O’Mara). And in the opening scene, the royals and their company are tossed by a storm onto Prospero’s island.

The plot brims with conflict – sibling rivalry, father-daughter tensions, master-slave bitterness, illusion and reality. And there is enough elasticity in the plot to accommodate any number of interpretations. Depending on the circumstances, different characters shift in and out of the villain role – Antonio, Caliban, even Prospero. Miranda is at once an innocent girl, a tomboy, and a rebellious young woman. Other characters may seem harmless then become dangerous. All the shape shifting is appropriate to an island where magic reigns. There is despair, but there also is forgiveness and ultimately, hope.

The DHS stage will have a modern, minimal look, designed by Technical Director Charles Ford. A large, structural set piece sits center stage – an open geodesic dome made of metal tubing. It allows actors to walk through, play around, or sit atop. Small spiral staircases curl around the dome and platforms extend from the core. To one side a shadow box sits for special silhouetted scenes. A giant astronomical clock sits opposite, symbolizing Prospero’s ability to control his universe as well as the passage of time. The costumes, designed by DHS stalwart JoAnn Nevils, will have a surreal, fantastic quality.

– Judith Reynolds

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