Mostly authentic 'Tempest' comes to Hudson

Warm summer days and nights provide the perfect atmosphere for William Shakespeare's The Tempest, a magical tale of intrigue, duplicity and romance set on an enchanted island in an unknown region.

Said to contain some of the Bard's best poetry, the play will be presented by EDPAC Stage Co. players this weekend and the next at the Eleanor Dempsey Performing Arts Center at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School in Hudson.

"We're going to present it as Mr. Shakespeare wrote it," said Steve Mountan, director of the theater troupe. The players will speak in Elizabethan English, and only a couple of scenes will be eliminated, he said.

"Done properly, it's perfectly understandable," he said of the 17th century diction.

There are two big differences between what Globe Theatre patrons would have seen and what the audience will see in Hudson.

The players will be in 21st century dress.

And four of the major characters have been switched from male to female: Antonio, the usurping Duke of Milan, becomes Duchess Antonia; Prospero, Antonio's brother and the genuine Duke of Milan, becomes Duchess Prospera; Gonzalo, the king's counselor, becomes Gonzala; and Ariel, the magical air spirit, remains Ariel but is played by a woman.

"We did some gender switches to make it work out" and to give more roles to female performers, Mountan said.

The play opens on a storm-tossed sea, where Alonso, the king of Naples (John Hooper), his son Ferdinand (Jonathan Timpanelli), his counselor Gonzala (Dee Jaye Little), his brother Sebastian (Mike Buck), the Duchess Antonia (Liz Hooper), and various servants are shipwrecked and tossed upon an enchanted island.

Antonia's sister, Prospera (Clare Ward), the rightful Duchess of Milan and a skilled magician, has ruled over the island since she arrived there years ago and has conjured up the storm to bring her adversaries to her island.

Prospera is served by the air spirit Ariel (Carol Robinson) and by a manservant, Caliban (Steve Garland), who ruled the island before Prospera arrived — and hopes to rule it again.

Ariel finds Ferdinand awash on the beach and whisks him away to Prospera's cave, where he sees Prospera's beautiful daughter Miranda (Amanda Buck) and immediately falls in love.

From there, the plots thicken, as Antonia and Sebastian conspire to kill Alonso and Gonzala so that Sebastian can become king of Naples; and Caliban plots with Alonso's jester Trinculo (Alvin Jenkins) and butler Stephano (Fred Lasday) to overthrow Prospera and rule the island.

That's when Prospera begins to work her magic, the plots begin to unravel, and romance blooms between Ferdinand and Miranda.

The cast is rounded out by Soolaf Rasheid, Alexandra Balestrieri and Jennifer Cunningham in multiple roles.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Shakespeare's The Tempest will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Aug. 21; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Aug. 22; and 3 p.m. Sunday and Aug. 23 at Eleanor Dempsey Performing Arts Center at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School, 13651 Hays Road, Hudson. The 3 p.m. performance Saturday is "pay-what-you-can." All other performances are $9 reserved, $5 general admission.

If You Go

A classic

What: William Shakespeare's The Tempest

Where: Eleanor Dempsey Performing Arts Center at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic School, 13651 Hays Road, Hudson

When: 8 p.m. Friday and Aug. 21; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Aug. 22; 3 p.m. Sunday and Aug. 23

Tickets: Reserved seats are $9; general admission is $5. Call (727) 857-2604 or online at ed-pac.org.

Mostly authentic 'Tempest' comes to Hudson 08/13/09 [Last modified: Friday, August 14, 2009 6:55pm]

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