A few weekends ago, I went to see the production of The Tempest put on by the organization Shakespeare in the Swamp at the Acrosstown Reparatory Theatre. I know it’s been a few months since we dwelled on this story, but I thought it would be interesting to share how the story was adapted and created in a peculiar way by the director, Michael Cormier, when it was finally put together in to a final production.
In this production, the scene opened with a brother and sister playing on the beach with their dolls. As the children began to play with their dolls, the story of Prospero and the rest of the characters developed. Although the play was true to script, there was also a huge modern twist that was only visible during a live performance. Since the children were playing with dolls, the characters took on their wardrobe and personality, even though they were still portraying the roles of characters in The Tempest. These characters included everyone from the cast of Alice in Wonderland to lead singer of Kiss, Gene Simmons. This twist on the classic play added a fun detail for people who were familiar with the production and may have seen it produced elsewhere.
Although this modern twist did take away from what was probably Shakespeare’s original intent of the play, I thought that it added a unique and contemporary interpretation to the overall meaning of the plot by magnifying modern characteristics to traits that Shakespeare originally intended. For example, the character Stephano was portrayed on stage as Gene Simmons, which in my opinion added to his chaotic and insane attitude once shipwrecked on the island. I definitely recommend visiting the Acrosstown Reporatory Theatre in the near future if you haven’t already. Currently, they’re working on a performance of Much Ado About Nothing (which will begin in April) as well as a performance of Hamlet coming this Fall.