In English Department faculty member Conor O'Sullivan's first WRA-directed play, he and his fellow cast members gave The Tempest new life through re-gendered roles and underscoring an anti-colonial reading of the historic text.
It was an exciting show from the very beginning, with cast members setting the scene of a tumultuous storm, their shouts echoing from the balcony in the auditorium to mimic the sounds of the winds, the shipwreck and the chaos. It was this kind of creativity threaded through the entire performance that kept attention captivated as the plot unfolded.
Memorizing Shakespearean verse is no easy feat, particularly for cast member Ananya Chetia '20, who played Prospera -- a re-gendered take on Prospero, magician and exiled Duke of Milan. Though performing work like The Tempest is a formidable challenge, Chetia and the rest of the cast excelled in this show. Dynamic duo Spenser Valentine '19 and Noah Frato-Sweeney '20 brought delightful comedic relief to the stage as Trinculo and Stephano, showcasing their acting chops with physical comedy and perfected delivery. Ariel, an island spirit, was played by a bold and fearless Joey Houska '20, a role that seemed specially designed for her. Truly, each of the cast members fully deserved the rounds of applause garnered at the end of the performance.
Notably, audience members remarked on another group of the cast members -- the island natives. They swept through the show, unspeaking and expressionless, hidden behind eerily blank masks. But still, they told their story through their silence, and their careful and captivating movement. In the final act, it is these cast members who remained on stage as their royal court members depart. The scene crescendos in a de-masking, signaling the physical reclaiming of their identities and independence as their conquerors relinquish their land.
The Tempest was a thought-provoking production, rife with creativity and intention, and one that will stay in the minds of those who were lucky enough to attend. We congratulate the director, cast and crew for an outstanding show.
Please enjoy the photo gallery below.