Monkeys are smart. Though they haven't created cars or trains or weapon, they are educated through simplicity. They flourish on what they have, and if something doesn't work, they don't give up, but they evolve to overcome it. Like monkeys, Shakespeare had no thesaurus, no dictionary, no laptop and no editor. But when he came to a spot where he was at loss for words, he made up his own words. Through practice, perseverance and certainly trial and error, he created works that will last forever.

I am a 13 year old kid who is trying to read and attend live performances of all 37 Shakespeare plays (plus 3 possible collaborations) in 2 years. This is a record of my experiences.

I am now a 19 year old college freshmen at Northwestern University, pursuing a degree in Theatre. The spark of love for Shakespeare that began this blog has grown into a roaring fire. That fire burns a little bit brighter each day. This is where it all began.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Tempest

Last Thursday, I saw The Tempest at Princeton University as a prep for the show I’m going to see on Broadway. It was directed by Jenna Devine and starred students Max Rosmarin as Prospero and Ariel Sibert as Ariel (who was actually named after her character.) Gregor Shubert and Sarah Paton were cast as the young lovers Ferdinand and Miranda.

Though heavily cut, the play was not so heavily cut that the play was unrecognizable and confusing-as I fear the Richard II I'm going to see in a couple weeks will be, having had parts added into it from another play. The Prospero was powerful and had a very clear voice and great enunciation, but he did not have such a good stage presence. The Ariel was ok but they cut many of her lines so she did not have a chance to really perform. She is a fantastic physical actor but she did not deliver her lines with enough passion in some cases like when she begged for freedom and when she talked about the witch who had captured her before Prospero arrived on the island. Another very strong character was the Caliban (Brad Wilson) who did well with the beast part but also portrayed the sadness and futility of the character. When Ariel began to sing and Caliban said that the island was full of mysterious noises, he brought a very strong sense of sadness but also of a slight curiosity and longing. The Ferdinand did everything well but nothing extraordinary. The Miranda left much to be desired, because she not only slurred her words but did not seem to know what to do with herself when other people were talking. The Alonso (Paul Bangola), Sebastian (Julia Keimach) and Antonio (Josh Zeitlin) were all pretty good and had some moments that had the audience laughing hard. The only actor that really ‘caught my eye’ was Elizabeth Swanson as Gonzalo. She showed the good side people where she raised hope that Ferdinand was still alive and tried to cheer up the king. She brought a very cheery attitude to the mix and was a good, solid physical actor with good annunciation. The Tranculo and Stephano were very funny and they were fantastic physical actors. All in all this was a very good performance for what it was, with a good set and lighting, ok costumes and good direction.

It's weird but slightly refreshing to see students perform a play after having seen professionals do so many. The fact that all of the cast members were young brought a strange sweetness to even the most detestable characters.

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