The Tempest

We have seen Prospero played by William Hutt, Christopher Plummer and Vanessa Redgrave, among others, so our standards are very high. The Southwest Shakespeare Company production did not live up to our admittedly high, standards. It was opening night, and a first venture into repertory production, alternating The Tempest with Hamlet. Much to our surprise and disappointment, the audience for the first night was less than 100 people. It was a young audience, more students than the usual grey hairs. But the theatre holds about 500, so it was not a cozy event. We may just have to admit that Phoenix is not a theatre town.
Back to the production, directed by Jared Sakren who is also the Artistic Director of the company: the best thing I can say is that it was a clear production.
Prospero, played by Harold Dixon, lost his lines several times, although he recovered well. But he never really seemed to be Prospero, just someone playing Prospero. Ariel, played by Malory Pettas, a third year ASU student was very good, with the right mix of mischief and pathos. Trinculo, played by stand up comic Michael Bailey in a costume that made me think ‘ Where’s Waldo?”, was very funny. The rest of the cast were adequate.
The first scene was the worst, from a directorial standpoint. The
Ariel sprites waved sheets of gauze to simulate the storm; the ship rocked and creaked so loudly that the dialogue was completely lost. Fortunately, the budget must have run out and the special effects were limited for the rest of the play.
The good thing about Shakespeare of course, is that the play is good, so even when the production is weak, it is better to be at the theatre than watching tv.


About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
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