Island Stage Left Presents: The Tempest
Shakespeare’s Tempest on San Juan Island
Shakespeare Under the Stars is back! Island Stage Left’s new production of The Tempest plays on San Juan Island July 19-August 12.
This is Shakespeare’s fantasy about a magical island populated by spirits, monsters, a duke-turned-magician, and a group of corrupt castaways including two vicious courtiers and a pair of inebriated underlings.
The plot centers on Prospero, a deposed duke marooned on a remote island with his beautiful daughter. He has studied magic and gained frightening powers. After twelve years, his enemies are washed up on the same shore, in a tempest that Prospero conjured up. Now they’re in his grip. Will he be fair? Can he forgive?
“Prospero is the director of The Tempest, he’s the one that brings forth the spirits, that makes everything happen,” says ISL co-founder Helen Machin-Smith, the show’s director. “Many people think of Prospero as Shakespeare himself, though I don’t go quite that far. It’s never that simple with Shakespeare.” But The Tempest was his last major play, and it has added weight: “The Tempest to me is a culmination of all the things that he’s learnt, in his life and on the stage.”
The play contains many of Shakespeare’s most resonant lines – “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep”…”Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows!” … ”O brave new world, that has such people in it.” And some wonderful insults: “Thou deboshed fish, thou!”
The cast is led by Daniel Mayes as Prospero. Mayes’ acting career has included leading roles at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland; at the Intiman, ACT and Seattle Rep theaters; and more than 43 roles at Island Stage Left.
The servant-spirit Ariel is played by Sylvie Davidson, whose recent appearances include ACT Theatre’s The Crucible and Alliance Theatre’s Troubadour.
Caliban, the unhappy monster-slave, is played by David Natale, familiar to Northwest audiences at Seattle Rep, Seattle Public, Annex, Mirror Stage, Eclectic, and Key City Public Theatre.
They are supported by an experienced cast from on- and off-island. Nashville singer/songwriter Trevor Wheetman Music has created original music for the show.
Island Stage Left is the San Juans’ only professional theatre company. This is their 20th year of giving the San Juan Islands professional quality theatre with no admission charged. (Donations are appreciated: they keep the company going.) Celebrating those 20 years with The Tempest is especially significant because this was the play with which ISL co-founders Mayes and Machin-Smith started the company. They reprised the play in 2008 for their 10th anniversary, and this year’s new production keeps that tradition alive.
“It’s the perfect play to do here,” says Machin-Smith. “It has comedy and tragedy and romance and magic. It appeals to children and adults. And of course it’s set on a magical island. And where do we live? On a magical island.”
The show opens July 19 and runs through August 12, Thursdays-Sundays at 8pm, on the outdoor stage at 1062 Wold Road. No tickets or reservations necessary. Come early, dress warmly and bring a coat or blanket – it can get quite chilly. Further info: www.islandstageleft.org (360) 378-5649
(More photos coming soon)