The Nashville Shakespeare Festival took the Troutt Theater by storm January 15 with their rendition of ‘The Tempest’. Blue, violet and sea green pieces of cloth dangled from the rafters. Two ‘rock’ formations took up most of the stage. When the lights dimmed, the audience was taken on a fun and daring cruise through one of Shakespeare’s famous works.
The story circles around a man named Prospero, a former duke of Milan. He was exiled with his daughter, Miranda, by his brother Antonio. Prospero is a magician, his books being his source of power, and survives 12 years on an island with his daughter, a spirit named Ariel, and a monster and slave, Caliban. Antonio and his co-conspirator, King Alonso with his son Ferdinand, along with a few others, travel by sea. Prospero commands a great storm to engulf the boat and the men find themselves shipwrecked, father and son being separated.
Ferdinand happens upon Prospero and falls madly in love with Miranda. Her father is apprehensive about the boy, thinking he’s just like his father. With hard labor, Ferdinand shows Prospero he is humble and pure, nothing like his father and a very good match for Miranda.Alonso thinks his son is dead which makes him humble and he begs for forgiveness for his actions toward Prospero. Meanwhile, Caliban makes friends with Stephano the cook/butler and the jester, Trinculo. Together, they decide they will kill Prospero and steal Miranda, his magic and powers. Ariel finds out about this and uses their drunkenness to spoil their plans.
The audience finds Prospero make amends and forgives Antonio and Alonso for his treason. Ferdinand and Miranda are then married and the future of Milan is brighter. Prospero ends the play with his vow to drown his magical books.
To say the Nashville Shakespeare Festival did a good job would not suffice. From the very exquisite costumes to the actors’ smooth transitions through their performances. The audience laughed with Trinculo, Stephano and Caliban’s antics as they stumbled about in their drunken stupor. During Ferdinand and Miranda’s wedding, an air of happiness filled the theater.
A few Belmont students acted in the play as well.
Cory Carter, Caitlin Owen Kelly, freshman, and Christine Lamborn, senior, were the three spirits who assisted Ariel in her duties to Prospero. Their movements were graceful and ethereal as they reeled about the stage. Miranda was played by Christiana White, a Belmont theatre performance major. Her performance was flawless, roping the audience in with her high energy.
Brian Webb Russell, Prospero, portrayed the old magician very well. His rich, deep voice is perfect for Shakespearean plays! His whole being was thrown into his character, making it quite difficult for the audience not to think of him as anything but Prospero.
The comedian of the group was probably Dustin Napier, Trinculo. Because he played the jester doesn’t necessarily mean he had to be funny. He could’ve been a very flat jester. However, with Napier, he dedicated himself to every line, every movement. He floundered on the stage and made facial expressions that had the audience howling.
If you plan on going to The Tempest get ready for a very creative, talent-filled show. Get ready to be swept up in the colors, humor and beautiful story.
Catch a performance January 14-31. Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday matinees 2:30pm. Tickets are $19 in advance for adults and $22 at the door. Student tickets are $10.