This week be prepared to be blown away by Seattle Academy’s winter production of The Tempest! Students from Intermediate and Advanced Acting have been working hard at rehearsals under the direction of Paul Shapiro since the beginning of December, and will show off their hard work for the first time this Thursday, February 6. For those that are less familiar with The Tempest, it is a little different from some of Shakespeare’s other plays. According to Lilia Cohen (‘17), the actress who plays Caliban, a beast who is enslaved to the protagonist, “A lot of Shakespeare’s plays are either a tragedy or a comedy, but this one is sort of both.” The Tempest is about the overthrown Duke of Milan who uses magic to try to regain his seat of power from his brother and to bring love to his daughter. Director Paul Shapiro calls The Tempest one of Shakespeare’s most well-written plays.
Even if you have already seen the play, this new version may come as a surprise. Lilia says, “A lot of the characters who are traditionally male characters are female.” But that isn’t the only difference. The setting has changed as well. In this version, the play is set in the future. For example, Paul has decided that the “ship is not an old wooden sail ship. Ours is a more contemporary ship, and the island is made up from refuse from the ocean.” You’re probably thinking, with all of these alterations, this must be a completely different play. Well, it’s not. Throughout all of the changes, Paul didn’t change any of Shakespeare’s original language.
With the first performance only a few days away, both the director and the actors have been working hard to get it ready for the audience. They have blocked pretty much all of the scenes by now, so the actors have the job of perfecting character choices and incorporating some set pieces into their acting. But both Lilia and Paul agree that by opening night, they will be prepared to perform for the audience. To put it in Paul’s words, “When an audience shows up, we will be ready.”
The performance is when all of the actors’ hard work is displayed for all to see, so come and witness it for yourself. Save a spot on your calendar for this Thursday at 7 PM, and come support your fellow students and friends for a couple of hours. Let’s greet their work with a great audience to match it!