The Tempest In Queens
Shakespeare's Last Solo Play To Run Another Week
LIC / April 26, 2010. This past weekend I saw The Tempest at the Secret Theatre in LIC. I found myself drawn into director Kelly Johnston's portrayal of the Shakespearean comedy, as well as the performances by the cast - which included the Queens Players and Secret Theatre founder Richard Mazda.
The Tempest is believed to have been the last play written in its entirety by Shakespeare alone. This rendition of the play appeared to emphasize the comedic themes of the work, in lieu of the romantic ones. And it seems this comedic focus was done to good effect, as many in the audience enjoyed the humor of a play written exactly 400 years ago [about 1610 - 1611 AD].
Click here for a brief review of The Tempest at Secret Theatre in LIC which includes a slide show of one of the spirit dancers twirling around in the background.
The Tempest At The Secret Theatre
Shakespeare's Last Solo Play To Run Another Week
April 26, 2010 / Long Island City LIC / Queens Buzz. The Tempest is a romantic comedy about a king, Prospero, who has been banished to an island with his daughter, Miranda. Prospero has magical powers and uses them to conjure up a small storm or tempest, which strands the passing ship of his brother, Antonio, who had exiled him years before. Stranded with Antonio are other passengers who were aboard the ship, including a prince, Ferdinand, who is to marry the Antonio’s daughter to consummate a deal between two principalities.
Theater In LIC
Prospero sets about to make mischief and there are spirits on the island who help him do his bidding. They are played by dancers, who float along the periphery of the main action of the play [see slide show below], darting in and out of it, while making things happen unbeknownst to the main characters. These actresses performed their roles lusciously, albeit incorporating a pleasant bit of distraction into the production.
Richard Mazda plays Prospero who dominates the scenes he’s in, frequently instructing the spirits, his daughter or others, like the producer or director of a play [is this coincidence or congruence for the founder of the Secret Theatre?]. A romance ensues between Ferdinand and Prospero's daughter which was a subplot in the play. Ferdinand [played by Anthony Martinez] eventually gets together with Prospero’s daughter Miranda [played by Jeni Ahlfeld]. There’s a fun scene where Prospero castigates the charming prince about what he may and may not do with Prospero’s daughter, which Richard seemed to portray with gusto [see photo to right].
Queens Players In Long Island City
Caliban, played by Daniel Smith, wore his hooded unitard in a near spiderman-like fashion [see top photo in story introduction]. He also did well in playing into the Shakespearean comedy, generating laughs in a number of the comedic scenes that centered around his character. In one of the scenes, which included a Shakespearean side show of the butler and the jester, Stefano [played by Sean MacBride Murray in photo to left] and Trinculo [played by Gina Trebiani] interacted with the audience, as I imagine the actors and actresses did in Shakespeare’s day.
Lastly, there was another thread to the play, involving Prospero's brother Sebastian [played by Kyle Mastelier], daughter Antonia [played by Lexie Helgerson] and the other principality's king Alonso [played by James Lentini]. They wander the island looking for Alonso's son Ferdinand, and are placed in a tortuous trance [see Lexie Helgerson in photo below] and eventually freed.
The Tempest - Secret Theatre LIC
This was a fun production of an old classic. I found it wise to arrive early to read the program to attune myself to the characters and the play, as there were only modest visual cues provided. All of actors and actresses wore similar unitards and the changes in background scenery were done sparingly.
The slide show below shows one of the actresses / dancers who portrayed one of the spirits hovering in the background on the island inhabited by Prospero in Shakespeare's play The Tempest. The play was performed at the Secret Theatre in LIC and the dancers were Charlotte Layne Dunne, Sarah Bonner, Katie Braden and Jessica Alex.
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