On Thursday evening, I attended an open rehearsal of Studio 10's production of Shakespeare's Tempest. It gave me a chance, not only to see the show but to meet two of the young Thesbians previously interviewed in connection to the show: the director, Joshua Robinson, as well as the light technician Andy Darr. Unfortunately, I missed the composer who had not yet made it to town.
What was the show like?
It was truly an immersive experience. The audience was actually invited to sit themselves on stage, which brought you into the epicenter of the action. It was the most interactive and innovative of shows. Imagine steering wheels, squirt guns, personified ocean waves, bawdy songs and silly love scenes. The score melted chronological time and kept complementing the changing moods as the scenes progressed. The guitar sounded most modern, Bronson was inspired by 90's rock. The use of wind instruments added touches of the ancient, nature and whimsy which complemented the weathered marine set design and the tempestuous action.
The casting was perfection. Prospero (T. J. Rivard), the father figure, sported the beard, the magic cloak and alternated between gentile fondness and fierce protectiveness. His daughter, the heroine, Miranda (Allison Giles) was aptly naive and lovely. Ariel, played impeccably by Beth Anne Darr, was the quintessential Ariel: all at once fiery, sparkly blue & mischievous. It was as if the Ariel I had pictured when reading the Tempest many years ago had sprung to life along with a tribe of glittering spirit beauties. Calaban (Mark Edwards), the "monster-slave", brought new dynamics to his character who did not appear to be only monstrous and comical. His voice was sonorous and his beastly apparel could not hide a nobler interior, even despite his assertion that language only taught him "to curse". Stephano (Paula Werle) and Trinculo (Kim Dearing) provided comedic relief as the king's butler and his sidekick enjoying their delusions of grandeur. Jennie Kiffmeyer, a long time Thesbian whose parents founded the company in charge of this production has played now every part in the Tempest. An interesting side story in coming full circle. Her experience is to her credit and evident in her clear enunciation and crisp performance as Alonso, King of Naples.
The play was well balanced with every desirable flavor of story: comedy, tragedy, quarrel and tension, romance and resolution. It's always a treat to see the words of Shakespeare come to life. Although the language may be dated and difficult for some to follow, most people agree that Elizabethan England was a time that the English language enjoyed a particular zenith. However, all due credit for this event goes to the cast, technicians and artists who put forth astonishing talent and effort for without them the great bards' words would be left inanimate on a page.
The lighting, set design, costuming and attention to each detail made the Tempest unforgettable. The show left my husband and I hungry for more performances!
Well done Studio 10!
|Studio 10 Site|