FMU theatre department performs “The Tempest”

“The Tempest” cast took the stage in Hyman Fine Arts Center for opening night on Oct. 28.

“The Tempest” is a comedic play written by William Shakespeare and was rst performed on Nov. 1, 1611. The plot of “The Tempest” is one of betrayal, revenge and eventually forgiveness. It is the story of Prospero, played by Matt Adkins. Prospero is the ostracized and overthrown Duke of Milan, and he has an elaborate plot to be welcomed back into the fold and have his title restored. Prospero’s plan involves the use of magic and begins with him calling on the tempest, a violent storm. The FMU production of “The Tempest” took a traditional approach to the play.

The theatre department performs Shakespeare’s plays every four years. This year, as it was time for a Shakespeare play, Glen Gourley, professor of theatre and director of the production, was involved in the decision to choose “The Tempest.”

“I found ‘The Tempest’ appealing because of the casting, the setting and the story itself,” Gourley said.

This production featured a large cast, including many extras. The cast included students, faculty and guest performers.

“The actors really brought the play to life,” Amber Grif th, senior psychology major, said.

An audience favorite was the character Ariel who provided comic relief throughout the play.

Malcolm Parker, sophomore theatre arts major who played Ariel. He described the experience as a blessing.

“I love to make people laugh,” Parker said. “To play arolewhereIgettodoiton purpose was probably the best thing ever.”

Sophomore theatre arts major Jordan Watson played Prospero’s daughter Miranda.

“I had a really great experience playing Miranda because it’s a role I never actually got to play before,” Watson said. “I’ve never been the love interest, so it was fun to play this silly, love-stricken girl.”

According to the chair of the ne arts department, Keith Best, the language is the challenge when it comes to a Shakespearean play. It is a challenge for the actors trying to convey the story. Best also appeared in “The Tempest” playing the role of Stephano.

“The language is dif cult to understand, and as an actor, it becomes my job to make sure I understand and then to communicate the intent of the words through my performance in a manner that allows them to know what is going on even when the language is confusing,” Best said.

Watson also found the language to be a struggle while trying to better understand her character, Miranda, and understanding the comedic part of the play.

“You have to rst translate it before you can do any real character development,” Watson said. “The language is so different from ours; it’s not the same kind of humor.”

The characters and language were on the backdrop of a unit set with set pieces. Some of these set pieces included the wheel of a ship and a log.

Kadarius Seegars, senior theatre major, was the master carpenter for “The Tempest.”

“I loved helping with creating the log,” Seegars said. “Seeing this bright pink tube transform into the log that you saw on stage was fairly interesting.”

The scene changes were set by the changes in lighting. This set choice went along with the approach to scenery that Shakespeare used when he wrote “The Tempest.” Due to many scene changes and different locations, the changes in lighting were a more practical approach than disrupting the story with several set changes.

Although Shakespearean plays may be harder to understand, Best describes why it is important for students and the community to still experience Shakespeare’s plays.

“Just as we become better readers by reading more dif cult and challenging material, we become better aestheticians by challenging our artistic sensibilities,” Best said. “We become more aware of how other people in other times dealt with issues similar to the ones we face today- love, parents, storms, etc.”

For more information aboutthe neartsdepartment, visit departments.fmarion. edu/ nearts/