The Duke University Institute of the Arts will bring the Actors from the London Stage back to the Reynolds Theater at Duke University on March 21 and 22 to perform their trademark five-person version of The Tempest (circa 1611) by Elizabethan and Jacobean playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616).
Guy Burgess, Caroline Devlin, Paul Moriarty, Edward Peel, and Terence Wilton comprise this year's edition of the Actors from the London Stage. This imaginative and resourceful quintet of classically trained British actors — five human dynamos who have perfected their art and honed their craft while performing at the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, with the Royal Shakespeare Company, at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and with other distinguished British theatrical companies — will each tackle multiple roles in this classic comedy of revenge and romance. The Actors from the London Stage will change from one character to another in a blink of an eye, using distinctive postures and walks, facial expressions, mannerisms, tone and pitch of voice, bits of costume such as scarves or sashes or reversible lapels, various props, etc., to indicate when a switch is made.
At curtain rise, Prospero, the deposed and exiled Duke of Milan, employs his considerable powers as a master magician to conjure up a fearsome storm. Prospero uses the storm to shipwreck — and then torment — a motley group that includes his treacherous brother, Antonio, and many of his Old World enemies. By shipwrecking Antonio and company on the rugged New World island that he shares with his beautiful daughter Miranda, a mischievous servant-spirit named Ariel who must do Prospero's bidding, and a rebellious half-human brute named Caliban, Prospero finally has his enemies at his mercy.
The peripatetic Actors from the London Stage, who tour the nation to perform Shakespeare for college students and schoolchildren, are now based at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. This multitalented group was formerly known as ACTER (A Center for Theatre, Education & Research) and based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They relocated to University of Notre Dame in the year 2000.
If past performance is indicative of future results, the Actors from the London Stage will do a splendid job of reinterpreting The Tempest for contemporary audiences. Shakespeare's colorful characters, ingenious plot twists, and delightful dialogue will be enjoyed to the fullest as these exemplary interpreters of the works of the Immortal Bard employ a bare minimum of scenery, costumes, and props, so that the emphasis is always on the spoken word.
The Duke University Institute of the Arts presents the Actors from the London Stage's production of The Tempest Friday-Saturday, March 21-22, at 8 p.m. in Reynolds Theater in the Bryan Center on Duke's West Campus in Durham, North Carolina. $18-$22 ($12 students). 919/684-4444 or http://tickets.duke.edu/. http://www.duke.edu/web/dia/calendar.html or http://www.nd.edu/~aftls/