The Tempest

Tag: The Tempest

Shakespeare classic gets gender, time period twist in theatre arts production of “The Tempest”

A William Shakespeare classic gets a gender and time period twist in Lawrence University’s production of “The Tempest.”

Four performances will be staged in Stansbury Theatre Feb. 15-17 with an 8 p.m. show each night and an additional 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, Feb. 17. Tickets, at $15 for adults, $8 for students/seniors, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.

scene from "The Tempest"
The spirit Ariel (Cristina Sada Segovia, center) speaks to Prospero (Caro Granner, far left) while two of Ariel’s spirit followers (Chad Leverson, Johanna Kopecky) look on. Photo by Billy Liu.

Written in 1610-11 and widely believed to be Shakespeare’s final play, “The Tempest” is filled with trickery and magic, romance and revenge.

In this production, director Aram Monisoff, lecturer of theatre arts at Lawrence, set the play in the late 19th-century “Steampunk” era to fully contrast the heavily industrialized noblemen who crash onto the island with the more naturalistic natives. The sorcerer Prospero, the deposed ruler of Milan, is cast as a female sorceress, but with the same name.

“By changing the role of Prospero to a woman, it allows us the opportunity to present ‘The Tempest’ as an exploration of a mother-daughter relationship,” explained Monisoff, a 2008 Lawrence graduate.

The basic storyline of “The Tempest” remains.  Set on a remote island, Prospero uses magic to conjure up a storm, for which the play is named. A ship containing her enemies, Alonso, the king of Naples, and his entourage, struggles to stay afloat during the storm. Prospero’s goal is restore her daughter Miranda to her rightful place by using trickery and manipulation, resulting in the marriage of Miranda and King Alonso’s son, Ferdinand.

Scene from "The Tempest"
The savage slave Caliban (Chris Follina) emerges from his cave. Photo by Billy Liu.

“The character of Prospero, the enigmatic and all-powerful magician, is believed by some to be a representation of Shakespeare himself — as playwright, actor, and producer all rolled into one all-powerful magus,” said Monisoff. “Whether true or not, ‘The Tempest’ dives into the mysteries of life in a timeless and profound way.”

The play, according to Monisoff, “celebrates the awesome curiosity and capacity of the human mind and exposes the fears, anxieties and self-serving impulses that threaten to overwhelm it.”

“Prospero, who has devoted her life to knowing all there is to know about the universe, must fully confront how much she knows about herself and others,” said Monisoff. “Knowledge alone is not enough to heal the wounds caused by her insular thinking and selfishness in her past as ruler of Milan. Prospero’s journey is one of returning to the fold, to society itself and to her own humanity. That which makes us human, as Shakespeare shows us time and time again, is our struggle to reconcile the enormity of our dreams with the exquisite vulnerability of our brief lives.”

Sophomore Caro Granner from Evanston, Ill., plays Prospero, while New York City sophomore Samantha Torres portrays Miranda. Senior Jenny Hanrahan, Johnsburg, Ill., is cast as King Alonso while Appleton native Oscar Brautigam plays the king’s son, Ferdinand.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.




Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” Gets East Asian Treatment in Lawrence Senior Experience Production

William Shakespeare’s classic “The Tempest” gets an East Asian interpretation in four performances May 5-7 of Lawrence University’s theatre arts production.

The story of love, revenge and redemption will be staged at 8 p.m. each day with an additional 3 p.m. matinee on Saturday, May 7 in Cloak Theatre of the Music-Drama Center.

Tickets, at $10 for adults and $5 for senior citizens and students, are available through the Lawrence University Box Office, 920-832-6749.

The production is a collaborative Senior Experience of 10 graduating theatre arts majors.

“The variety of knowledge and experience brought to the table both on the stage and in terms of design is astounding,” said student director Andi Rudd. “The design of the island and its inhabitants invokes elements of Shintoism, Buddhism and traditional Japanese folklore, while the court and the text of the play remain traditional European.”

The familiar narrative follows Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, now dwelling in exile as a sorcerer on a magical island with his daughter Miranda, the monstrous Caliban and the spirit Ariel. Their island life is interrupted when a shipwreck brings King Alonso and his crew, including Prospero’s usurping brother, Antonio, and Miranda’s future lover, Ferdinand, to its strange shores.

Rudd said the production should provide closure both for the seniors involved in the production as well as this year’s freshman class.

“‘The Tempest’ was one of their Freshman Studies works this year, so hopefully they will find the show to be an entertaining close to their first year at Lawrence as the seniors finish their college careers with this final production.”