The Tempest

Ashland, OR
at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

The Tempest at Oregon ShakespeareThe Tempest  by William Shakespeare

Note to self:  You do not like The Tempest.  You think it is pretty much a waste of time. In the first act one implausible thing happens after another, and the remainder of the play just doesn’t have enough pleasurable fantasies or moralistic outcomes to redeem the show.

You sucker yourself into seeing this show because the storm and spirits sound frightening and fun.  They’re not worth it.

Remember the 2007 Oregon Shakespeare Festival production?  It had Derrick Lee Weeden as Prospero and Dan Donohue as Caliban.  They did excellent jobs.  The rest of the cast (except for the sputtering Tony DeBruno understudying as Gonzaolo) were credible to wonderful.

Even  so, you thought the evening was flat. There just wasn’t enough magic to transport you into the silly story. 

The make up and costumes of Ariel and her spirits were off-putting and odd, not ethereal and enchanted.  You normally like what Costume Designer Deb Dryden does, but the clothes in this Tempest went “Thud!”  The spirits looked like refugees from Azkaban, dressed in pajamas which themselves had badges of sullenly symbolic blue sky sewn on. Caliban’s prison of ropes robe was intricate enough to stand on its own as Artwork — not a good thing.  Only the rich robes for the final kiss-and-make-up scenes made sense and were noticeable in a positive way.

The Tempest 2007 was the last show you saw Libby Apple direct when she was also Artistic Director.  As redozdachs said, the show just proved that Libby needs her own Artistic Director to reign in her impulse toward too much grandeur and pomposity on stage.

Remember how at one point the spirits in the background did Circ De Soleil rope climbing?  Except that they looked awkward and tortured instead of nimble and fanciful.  Distracting and spirit-less, wasn’t it?

So, self, don’t let yourself get tempted into seing this play again.  The storm scene doesn’t last long enough. There’s neither enough realism or magic to satisfy.  You’ll be disappointed. Again.

Ozdachs rating: Two Syntaxes Out of Five

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