ADVERTISING AT CURTAINUP
Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp Review
By Carolyn Balducci
Directed by Padraic Lillis, this Tempest charts the turmoil raging in the heart of Prospero as he struggles against the temptation to use his Cabalistic powers to punish his enemies. As eloquently played by Robert Hock, Prospero never lets righteousness give way to revenge, nor allows his love for his daughter, Miranda (exuberantly played by the lovely Rachel Botchan) overwhelm his sense of responsibility. Hock's stage presence and thoughtful elocution sets the standard for this role.
Staging and costumes have been made as simple as possible. Beowulf Boritt's austere set places conservatively dressed Edwardian gentlemen among paintings of cloud-filled blue skies. Evocative of the work of surrealist Rene Magritte, this also serves as a reminder of how between the wars, twentieth century Calibans took power in Europe. The neatly trimmed silver beards of the elder members of the cast conjures up the image of Luigi Pirandello, the modern playwright whose work challenged the distinction between theatrical make-believe and real-life madness.
Matchmaking Miranda with Fernando (Sean McNall) and reconciling with his brother, Antonio (Scott Whitehurst) form part of Prospero's master-plan as he engineers the unification of the Kingdom of Naples with his own duchy of Milan. Human nature being what it is, however, he cannot do this without resorting to trickery through supernatural powers. Once reconciliation takes place, he renounces his magic and frees his slaves, Ariel (Celeste Ciulla) and Caliban (played by the Dan Daily). Love, in all its forms - paternal, fraternal, platonic and erotic--has triumphed.
In its own day, The Tempest (1623) reflected the hope that the New World would offer the human race a better social order. Gonzalo, the Kind of Naples' honest counselor (played by John Newton) describes the utopia he would create on Prospero's island. "Letters would not be known; riches, poverty and use of service, none." As we know, none of this has come to pass; like de Tocqueville, Shakespeare's eyes were open to the flaws in the human character. Despite this, Shakespeare affirms his hope for a better world through the exclamation of young Miranda. "How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world that has such people in it!"
Check out our Shakespeare's Little Instruction Book for Shakespeare's wit and wisdom and links to other Tempest reviews at CurtainUp
Theater Books Make Great Gifts
At This Theater
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
Click image to buy.
Go here for details and larger image.