February 10-12, 17-19, 24-26
At the Nevada Theatre
by William Shakespeare
John Deaderick and Jimmy McCammon
Music Direction by
Thursdays at 7:30, $15
Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00, $20
Saturday Matinee at 2:00, $20
The Briar Patch - 530-272-5333
The Book Seller - 530-272-2131
Yabobo - 530-478-9114
Cherry Records - 530-823-2147
Brown Paper Tickets - 800-838-3006
Choosing The Tempest as a follow up to our well-received production of Cyrano de Bergerac was easy. Like Cyrano, The Tempest has romance, comedy, conflict, heroes and villains - yet Shakespeare’s epic presents even more elements: a shipwreck, a monster, a magician, a desert island, and supernatural creatures. In The Tempest, injustice is righted, the guilty are pardoned, captives are set free, and forgiveness carries the day. It is a love story, a story of revenge, of redemption, of the passing of one generation to the next. Many have regarded this late work by the master - it was the last play he wrote without a collaborator - as Shakespeare’s farewell to the stage. The character of Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, may be seen as the Bard of Avon’s self-portrait. Prospero’s magic, his ability to cast spells and create illusions, suggests the magic of theatre itself, which is the art of transportation to a new realm, of the suspension of disbelief, of yes, illusion.
The play has traditional theatrical devices: the two clowns, Stephano and Trinculo, belong to the lineage of the Italian commedia dell’arte, and before that to the Roman comedies and before that to the Greek clowns of Aristophanes 2500 years ago. Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Chico and Harpo Marx, The Three Stooges, even Steve Martin and Jim Carrey are the heirs of this broad physical comedic style. The romance between Ferdinand and Miranda seems so very familiar to us; the “love at first sight” archetype has been in our literature for hundreds of years. Shakespeare also creates anew: the love / hate, master / slave relationship of Ariel and Prospero and the most unique of all Shakespeare’s characters, Caliban. In this offspring of the witch Setebos and a devil, Shakespeare has created a thing of striking originality, a creature of irrepressible lust and hatred. Yet despite these traits, Caliban evokes no small measure of sympathy: he is victim as well as perpetrator.
The fantasy of revenge that is The Tempest reaches out to all in a visceral way. Who among us would not like to ensnare those we perceive as having wronged us, would not like to control the elements, would not have supernatural aid at our command? Yet who among us would also manifest the wisdom of forgiveness that ends the play? Prospero’s summation that “We are such stuff as dreams are made on...” perfectly captures both the lesson and the mood of this most dream-like of plays: we are here, and then, we’re not. Have we been dreaming all along?
- John Deaderick