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Shakespeare & Originals Preview: Revenge Becomes Reconciliation in Shakespeare's Tempest

October 14, 2004 - Durham, NC:


In keeping with its charter to produce bold new productions of the works of Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatist William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Shakespeare & Originals will present The Tempest, the Bard of Avon's sublime fantasy of revenge and reconciliation, Oct. 14-30 at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham, NC.

Dog & Pony Show artistic director and PEEP! impresario Lissa Brennan will direct The Tempest, and the show's production team will also include set designer Ann Meilahn and lighting designer by Steve Tell.

Lissa Brennan writes, "It's my first time directing something I haven't written, or am not acting in, or both. While I'm on pins and needles, feeling like a virgin on prom night, I'm immensely proud of a fabulously talented cast of familiar faces and new blood (Cheryl Chamblee, Maggie Cochran, John Honeycutt, Thomas King, Polentzi Mahias, Jackie Marriott, Tom Marriott, Jay O'Berski, Michael O'Foghludha, Lucius Robinson, Adam Sampieri, and Jordan Smith), all of whom showed remarkable restraint in refraining from garroting me as I attempt the Bard for the very first time."

Shakespeare & Originals adds, "Shakespeare's final, solo-written play is a surreal clash of slapstick comedy, song and dance spectacle, and difficult introspection on the nature of love and forgiveness. In [this] latest production, a small island off the coast of Brazil is home to spirits good and evil. Manmade wizardry and the sorcery of the nature are the hermetic universe to an old man, his wild child daughter, and two otherworldly minions. Their simple paradise is disrupted by a band of shipwrecked politicians who open a Pandora's Box of ghosts of the past. The magic that follows brings new love and old hatreds; subservience and freedom; revenge, and redemption."

First performed about 1611 and first published in the First Folio of 1623, The Tempest is often considered to be Shakespeare's valedictory to the London stage. It is set on an enchanted New World island, where the powerful magician Prospero, the deposed rightful Duke of Milan, lives with his beautiful daughter Miranda, the mischievous sprite Ariel, and the hideous half-human slave Caliban. When a fortuitous storm allows Prospero to shipwreck a boatload of his old enemies from Naples and Milan on the shores of his magical isle, Prospero finally gets his opportunity for revenge, but he also learns that reconciliation can be sweeter than vengeance.

Encyclopædia Britannica writes, "With the arrival of the outsiders, the process of reconciliation begins. The party is brought to shore by Ariel, but Ferdinand, son of Alonso, the king of Naples, is separated from the others and is believed drowned. Ariel helps foil plots against Prospero by Caliban and against Alonso by [Prospero's usurping brother] Antonio. Ariel then appears to Alonso and Antonio as a harpy and reproaches them for their treatment of Prospero. Alonso, believing Ferdinand dead, is convinced that his death was punishment for Alonso's crime and has a change of heart. Prospero, persuaded that Antonio and company are repentant, reconciles all and prepares to return to Milan to reclaim his throne."

Shakespeare & Originals presents The Tempest Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 14-16, at 8:15 p.m.; Wednesday-Saturday, Oct. 20-23 and 27-30, at 8:15 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 24, at 3:15 p.m. at Manbites Dog Theater, 703 Foster St., Durham, North Carolina. $10 Wednesday-Thursday and $15 Friday-Sunday. 919/682-3343 or http://www.tix.com/Schedule.asp?OrganizationNumber=150. Shakespeare & Originals: http://www.newfrequency.org/tempest.htm. Manbites Dog Theater: http://www.manbitesdogtheater.org/2/. University of Virginia (Shakespeare Resources): http://etext.virginia.edu/shakespeare/. University of Virginia (The Tempest Text, 1623 First Folio, edited by John Heminges and Henry Condell): http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/ShaTemF.html. University of Virginia (The Tempest Text, 1866 Globe Edition, edited by William George Clark and William Aldis Wright): http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/MobTemp.html.