FMU to present William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”

Rebecca Cross, Managing Editor

FMU’s cast of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” will take the stage on Oct. 28-31 as they take on the roles of sailors, magicians and spirits in the FMU Department of Fine Arts’ production of the 17th century drama.

The production will take place in the Fine Arts Theatre in the Hyman Fine Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. each night.

Glen Gourley, theatre professor and director of “The Tempest,” said that the question should not be “Why should students come see ‘The Tempest’?” but “Why shouldn’t they come see ‘The Tempest’?”

“It would be my hope that here, at a Liberal Arts university, the students would want to be exposed to a play by William Shakespeare at least once in their lives,” Gourley said.

The play begins with the characters being shipwrecked on an island inhabited by a magician and a spirit. Various plots against the main characters are carried out, and, by the end of the play, all of the characters have repented of their wrongdoing, and the storm that has been raging calms. This storm, or “tempest” is how the play gets its name.

Preparation for “The Tempest” began in January when Gourley and set designers began determining how they wanted to include design concepts.

When the fall semester began in August, so did set construction.

Kadarius Seegars, a senior theatre major, is part of the team building the set.

“I think it’s cool that the set is mirrored after a boat,” Seegars said. “There are tons of special effects that I’ve never seen during my years at Francis Marion. All in all, it’s pretty cool just sitting there watching it happen.”

Some of the special effects Seegars mentioned included moving lights and motors for pieces of the set.

Auditions were held on Sept. 1 and Sept. 2. After the roles were cast, costume fabrication began, and rehearsals started on Sept. 7.

Gourley said that the cast usually rehearses six days each week for one and a half to two hours each rehearsal.

“When rehearsing a Shakespearean play, it is always a challenge to make sure the actors understand the meaning behind Shakespeare’s incredible use of language,” Gourley said.

In addition to FMU students, the cast of 28 includes two professors and two guest artists. There are also two assistant directors.

“The theatre program strives to give theatre majors and the audience a variety of plays to include those of historical and literary value, pure entertainment [and] theatre of advocacy,” Gourley said. “We try to do a Shakespearean play at least once every four years.”

Admission is free to FMU students, but students should try to get tickets in advance. Students may begin reserving their tickets on Friday, Oct. 19 by calling 843-661-1365. Students should call between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday – Friday.