Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Tempest @ The Delacorte Theater w/ The Publice Theater

Shakespeare in the Park’s production of The Tempest certainly took us by storm. It was imaginative and sensory, brought to life by fantastical masters of the language. The actors were superb and wonderfully showcased a large skill set, creating a fascinating environment provided by Michael Greif’s direction.

From moment one, the production captures your focus and places you into the shipwreck- no longer in Central Park, New York, New York. Being outdoors allows you to experience the elements as the characters are, and truly elevates the sensibility.

The scenic design by Riccardo Hernandez was beautifully simplistic, and offered a fresh change in locale as the play goes on, married to David Lander’s gorgeous lighting design. The Public withheld its amazing standards even in the outdoor elements. Emily Rebholz designed costumes that mirrored the surrealistic, timeless quality of the adaptation of the piece, thus further allowing the story to feel contemporary and relevant to our modern audience. Arthur Solari’s percussion underscored the action beautifully, giving the piece a heart beat. 

Sam Waterston leads the show as Prospero, the exiled ex-duke of Milan, in a brilliantly captivating manner. He embodies a man driven by both passion and logic, and the audience is able to see his pain and triumphs with every character he meets. The star vehicle, Jesse Tyler Fergusen as Trinculo, certainly does not disappoint. He injected comedy and whimsy into the scene, forcing the audience to be fixated on his hilarious reactions and commentary to the given circumstances. Other standout performances include Louis Cancelmi as Caliban, who tells his story not only verbally, but also giving a chilling and utterly compelling physicality to his tale. Chris Perfetti’s attention to the language and essence of a spirit was irresistible as Ariel.  His focus and movements were ethereal, enrapturing the audience’s eye as he moved across the stage. Ensemble troupe members were able to showcase their various talents, whether it be silk dancing, contortion, or glorious and haunting harmonies. Everyone’s talent and mastery of the Shakespearean language were demonstrated through the fact that it flowed effortlessly and felt like you were watching a modern tale.

The Public Theatre provides a unique thought-provoking free experience for the general public to enjoy and appreciate. The crowd rose to its feet at the conclusion of the show and voiced their endless appreciation for the actors’, designers’ and directors’ work. So pack up your picnic basket and head on down to the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park! May only an actual tempest deter you from running to see this production.

Review By: Brittany Goodwin
Photos By: Joan Marcus

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