By ANGELA PAUL, sophomore
On a fantasy-filled night teeming with magical spirits and nymphs, actors in emerald gowns danced onstage during the JP Theatre Company’s fall production of “The Tempest.”
Set on an enchanted island in the Mediterranean, “The Tempest” tells the story of a powerful sorcerer seeking revenge against his power-hungry and treacherous brother, Antonio. With unexpected plot twists, elements of romance, and the multidimensional characters that define Shakespearean dramas, “The Tempest” is a compelling story wrapped around the core themes of vengeance, freedom, and supernatural forces.
The story begins with the introduction of the sorcerer Prospero, played by junior Steve
Silvestri, as the rightful Duke of Milan angrily planning revenge against his brother Antonio, played by senior Samantha Schneider, for usurping the throne. Exiled onto a remote island, Prospero plans to use magic to orchestrate a furious tempest against his brother’s ship, stranding the sailors on his own island.
To keep the audience’s attention during Shakespeare’s longer monologues, Steve Silvestri said, “I read my lines over and over again. When I got home, I practiced them until I slept. It took me about a month!” Steve’s efforts were effective; as sophomore Elizabeth Gifford commented, “Prospero’s use of rapid hand gestures and precise facial expressions made both the character and his vengeance toward his brother feel very real. And because his performance was so realistic, it was easier to understand Prospero’s motives and actions.”
The stories of the other characters added multiple layers to the plot. In one scene, Stephano the butler, played by sophomore Julia de Avilez Rocha, and Trinculo the
jester, played by senior Danielle Sall, conspired drunkenly to kill Prospero and gain control of the island. As the butler and jester plotted against Prospero, the audience burst into fits of laughter. The slurred prose and simple language of the scene, paired with the duo’s comical performance, received great reviews: Archana Kumar, sophomore, exclaimed laughingly, “The comic relief was great! Both actors captured the act of being drunk amazingly and their slurred speech and tumbling made the scenes significantly better.” The audience’s feedback was appreciated by the actors, as Julia later stated, “There isn’t a better feeling than knowing the crowd valued what you did on stage, and knowing that the audience appreciated our production was highly rewarding.”
As the show drew to a close, various men and advisors of the King strode in from the right to meet their beautiful female counterparts, who were bedecked in gowns of rouge, gold, emerald and violet. In this final dance scene, each partner began to dance, twirling around the stage as the music chimed in the background. Tanya Phanda, sophomore, commented, “The splendor of the costumes, the eloquence of the dancers, and the resonant music all came together to give the play a memorable ending!” The JP Theatre Company left the
audience lost in the fantasy world of wizards and noblemen. And as that world finally came to a close, the audience rose from their seats to applaud.