Paris Junior College Drama Department is producing what is thought to be the last play Shakespeare wrote alone when “The Tempest” opens Thursday, Feb. 27 and runs through March 1.
The tale opens on a tempest-tossed ship, then the remainder of the story takes place on a remote island. There the sorcerer Prospero, a contradictory and complex character, lives with his daughter Miranda and two servants – the savage and monstrous Caliban and the airy spirit Ariel.
The island is also filled with fairies, ancient goddesses, and numerous shipwrecked visitors as a result of the tempest in the opening scene. The play contains music and songs that evoke the spirit of enchantment on the island. It explores many themes including magic, betrayal, revenge, and family. This version of the play is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which every character in the large cast is a survivor with much to gain or lose during their adventures on the island.
“This production of ‘The Tempest’ touches on love and loss mixed with magic and sibling rivalry,” said PJC drama instructor and play director William L. Walker, “and dance, music, and combat, so there’s something for everyone. We also haven’t quite been able to domesticate Caliban so there are some moments of mature comedy.”
“If this was another ‘Romeo and Juliet,’” said Lucas Rolf of his role as Ferdinand, “this is the Romeo of the story.”
The sophomore from Mt. Vernon was backstage manager in a fall production, and now returns to acting.
“After being a stage manager,” said Rolf, “I can see how one person being late or anything like that can set off the whole balance of a rehearsal. I put that to work as an actor now to be better.”
Another addition is original music, according to one of the vocalists, Sydnee Hawkins of Sulphur Springs.
“We’re doing a few different arrangements of some pieces,” said Hawkins. “It’s a mixture of some things we’ve written like little ditties that we’re singing because we are fairies and we’re the ensemble. It’s a cool mixture of different styles and types of songs. There are some classical pieces and we’re doing a kind of rendition of ‘The New Rule’ by Philip Glass.”
The Tempest runs on the Duane Allen Stage in the Ray E. Karrer Theater at 7:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 27, 28, and 29 and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 1. Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for children under 18, $5 with the donation of a new children’s or young adult/teen book for area charities, and free for those with a current PJC ID. Make reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cast: Alonso, King of Naples – Dana Stowell; Sebastian, his brother – Chaston Tomlin; Prospero, the right Duke of Milan – Austen Naron; Antonia, his Sister, the usurping Duchess of Milan – Robyn R. Huizinga; Miranda, Daughter of Prospero – Grace Marie Hignight; Ariel, an airy Spirit – Annabel Doss; Caliban, a savage and deformed Slave – Frederic Doss; Ferdinand, Son to the King of Naples – Lucas Rolf; Gonzalo, an honest old Counselor – Lisa Martin; Adrian – Brandon McCormick; Francisco – Kaleb Speakman; Trinculo, a Jester – Jimmie Sanders; Stephano – Quinton Williams; Master of the Ship – Amber Nelms; Boatswain – Emelie DeKnight; Iris – Ella Doss; Ceres – Molly Anne Law; Juno – Hannah England; Mariners, Nymphs, Reapers, Spirits – Nelms, DeKnight, Sydnee Hawkins (vocalist), William Wohlford, Ingeborg Hodge (vocalist), Bodee Robinson, Jenifer Lester, Law (vocalist), England (vocalist, percussionist), Andy Johnson, Deja Godwin (vocalist), and Edward Kelly; and Understudies – Brandon McCormick and Andy Johnson.
Crew: Director – William L. Walker; Choreographer – Robyn R. Huizinga; Stage Manager – Giselle Benitez; Assistant Stage Manager – Edward Kelly; Light Design – Walker and Huizinga; Set Design – Walker; Scenic Charge Artist – Huizinga; Sound Design – Walker; Sound Board Operator – Udanti Rendsland; Properties Mistress – Law; Front of House – Cameron Faires; Musician – England; Poster Artists – Angelia and Tom Herndon; Scenic & Lighting Crew – Theater Practicum students; Fight Choreographer – Nelms; Fight Captain – Rolf; Dance Captain – Speakman; Work-Study – Finch; and Properties – A. Doss.