The Tempest holds a special place in my heart. Not only because it was the very first play I did with AST back in the 2008 season, but because the very nature of the story inspires the actors and audience alike, to play. Arguably Shakespeare’s most magical and most musical play, the story and text repeatedly evoke feelings of wonder, awe, and imagination. A recurring theme within The Tempest is its very nature as a play, often drawing links between Prospera’s “Art” and theatrical illusion. Ariel’s performance of the shipwreck is referred to a “spectacle” she “performed.” And in the epilogue, Prospera implores the audience to applaud her “Art.”
So, in tackling this story as a play for young audiences, the cast and I spent a lot of time exploring what inspired and amazed us as young audience members. Ultimately, we kept coming back to the very nature of our art and what the theatre can do. Through lights, sound, music, movement, character, color and costumes, we create illusions–a safe place, where audience members can suspend disbelief and forget what’s outside of themselves–a “brave, new world,” as Miranda exclaims in wonder.
Creating a space of play, and nurturing that sense of play between actors and audience was my ultimate goal. As a cast we embraced the themes of illusion, spectacle, and play, and in the process, often found ourselves entranced by our art. From Chad Bradford’s original musical compositions, to the cast seamlessly transitioning from actors to musicians throughout the storytelling, I am consistently awed by their talent. I hope you enjoy our “rough magic,” and no matter how old you are, don’t forget to play.