Angela Matthews and Michael Bradshaw. Photo by Robert Palmer. Exiled from his home twelve years hence to an island full of spirits, Prospero has spent his time raising his young daughter Miranda while picking up a few magic tricks from spells left behind by a deceased witch. His incantations have allowed him to control the island spirits led by Ariel, whom he saved from a spell by the witch. When Prospero divines that a ship carrying his brother who enslaved him is sailing nearby, he has Ariel call up a mighty tempest – a storm that destroys the ships and scatters the survivors around the island so that Prospero can manipulate them into his grand scheme.

Such is the fantasy setting for Shakespeare’s last play written by himself, and McNary High School in Keizer, Oregon uses this fact for their own original opening scene written by Director Dan Hays wherein William Shakespeare (Michael Bradshaw) is visited by fellow playwright Ben Jonson (Kory Klopp). Their discussion turns to Shakespeare’s final play, and the Bard begins telling Jonson about The Tempest, taking on the role of Prospero and forcing a reluctant Jonson into the role of Prosper’s nemesis King Alonso, thereby putting the play in motion. And it’s a dramatic opening, with Ariel (Sarah Currin) casting a storm upon the doomed ship.

With the clearing of the storm, the curtain rises on Kory Klopp and Terry Rohse’s striking island set resembling white limestone that does indeed appear to be the sort of place that might be enchanted. Especially when some of the fairies poke their heads out of the walls of the stone (thanks to parts of the walls being painted sheets). These fairies are an ever-present presence on the island, enhancing the feel of the fantasy tremendously as they curiously watch, tease, groom, and taunt the humans who, except for Prospero, can’t see the sprites. But they can certainly sense their presence.

Michael Bradshaw makes for an excellent Prospero, a man with his heart often in the right place, but with a quick temper when crossed who is slightly crazed by power. Living with only his daughter, hundreds of fairies, and a monstrous son left by the deceased witch probably didn’t help his sanity. Angela Matthews plays Miranda, an innocent young woman who, after knowing only her father’s company since she was three years old, quickly becomes entranced by the new people coming to the island, resulting in her happy cry, “O brave new world that has such people in’t!” Miranda and young Ferdinand (Joey Holmes), King Alonso’s gentle and unassuming son, play off each other well in a playful romance.

Darren Bien and Sarah Currin. Photo by Robert Palmer.Most of the other mortal-inspired comedy comes from the two shipwrecked crewmates who are very fond of drink – Trinculo (Darren Bien) and Stephanie (usually Stephano) played by Jessica Wick. Both have a great feel for the humor as they become embroiled in a plot with the witch’s son Caliban (David Watson as the boorish monster with a chip on his shoulder) to take over the island. Jessica Wick is a riot as Caliban kowtows to her thinking she is a goddess, kissing her feet. And even funnier when she eventually gets dragged off the stage by an unseen fairy, an expression of sullenness and distant confusion on her face having lost her momentary goddess-hood. Other fine performances come from Kory Klopp as Alonso, Cresslyn Suthard as Antonia, Amy Marshall as Sebastiani, and Brian Becktel as Gonzalo.

But the essence of this production lies in the work of the mischievous fairies who saturate the island in the air, in the rocks, and an especially amusing thing under the earth with orange hands and arms (the only part of the fairy we ever see coming out of the ground). These otherworldly spirits are in constant motion, always eager to observe, play with, marvel over, or heckle the humans in their midst. They are all emotionally connected to and led by Ariel, with Sarah Currin giving a marvelous performance as the servant fairy who desperately wants her freedom but who has developed a love for her master as well. Her magical talents control the play, mesmerizing humans with her singing and flute playing, and commanding the elements with the movement of her hands that have the power to raise a tempest and, at intermission, turn off the stage lights.

Performs April 26 - May 5, 2007.

Rob Hopper
National Youth Theatre

~ Cast ~
Photo by Robert Palmer.

William Shakespeare/Prospero: Michael Bradshaw
Ben Jonson/King Alonso: Kory Klopp
Ship's Master/Spirit: Grant Abbott
Boatswain/Spirit: Chris Buchwalter
Antonia: Cresslyn Suthard
Gonzalo: Brian Becktel
Sebastiani: Amy Marshall
Miranda: Angela Matthews
Ariel: Sarah Currin
Caliban: David Watson
Ferdinand: Joey Holmes
Adrian: Tanner Sarsfield
Francisco: Jared Breedlove
Darren Bien and Jessica Wick. Photo by Robert Palmer.Trinculo: Darren Bien
Stephanie: Jessica Wick
Iris/Spirit: Vanessa Fenton
Ceres/Spirit: Alyce Alt
Juno/Spirit: Ariel Tolman
Brandan Chinburg
Chris Danner
Veronica Gevelt
Carrie Golledge
Krista Henderson
Dylan Juran
Maria Kelly
Steven Kirby
Kyle Lawhorn
Ayla Moretti
Kristal Nelson
Breanne Oja
Stacie Pippert
Mandy Scott
Rafaella Shaver
Christian Thomas

Director: Dan Hays
Stage Managers: Erin Detrant and Sam Dooley
Technical Director: Terry Rohse
Sound Design: Dan Hays
Lighting Design: Terry Rohse
Choreographer: Billie Crane
Spirit Movement and Assistant Choreographer: Kayla Bergren
Set Design: Kory Klopp and Terry Rohse
Costumes: Helen's Pacific Costumes, City Dance Theatre


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