Meredith Ensemble Theatre will present William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” September 28-October 2.
Performances are Wednesday, Sept. 28-Thursday, Sept. 29 at 11 a.m., Friday, Sept. 30 and October 1 at 6 p.m., and October 2 at 3 p.m. in McIver Amphitheater.
The production is being held in Meredith’s outdoor amphitheater in order to give students and the audience an experience more like that of Shakespeare’s day. The environmentally friendly production, which will not use amplified sound or lighting, is part of Meredith’s Sustainable September focus on thinking “green.”
The idea for the Tempest and the “green” nature of the production “came from a desire to give our student actors and our audience an experience more historically accurate to what may have happened during the playwright’s life,” said Associate Professor of Theatre Steven Roten, who adapted the script for the Meredith production.
“Shakespeare did not have all of our modern technology to tell his stories,” Roten said. “He had actors, some costumes, some rudimentary stage mechanics, and the sun.”
“Going green” complicates the way the production will be able to present the magical elements of the play.
“[Magic] is a major plot point and since we have “gone green” we have given up using amplified sound or any lighting to assist in conveying anything form the supernatural,” Roten said. “To do that, we are relying on music and dance. Alumna Chelsea Stith, ’11, has written original music for the production and we will have a live orchestra playing during the performances. Choreographer Carol Finley has also been persuaded to lend her creative talents to create a visual element of the magic through dance and movement.”
Meredith’s theatre faculty members feel it is important for students to gain experience acting in different venues.
“I think it important for our training program to get the students outside of their comfort zones,” Roten said. “An outside production requires more out of everyone involved. More schlepping of things to the space, more planning, more vocal projection, more focus. With this knowledge in mind, we felt that "The Tempest" would be a good fit for us. Among the shortest Shakespeare plays and completely environmental, "The Tempest" fits nicely in the space.”
Roten adapted Shakespeare’s work to help it fit a women’s college as well, “changing Prospero to Prospera, making Ariel a woman, and changing Prospero’s evil and power hungry brother to her evil and power hungry sister, Antonia.”
“We have cast a whole slew of women in “pants” or “breeches” roles who will play men. There are a handful of men who will share their talents with us in the production bringing the total number of actors involved to over 20,” Roten said.
Roten invites the Meredith community to this unique theatre experience.
“We are very excited to present this work to the community and proud that we could involve all of the performing arts in our first main stage show of the season,” Roten said. “Rumor has it that there will be a ‘Queen’s box’ for members of the ‘Meredith Royal Party’ to view the show during the evening performances. So come one, come all and enjoy the outdoors and the performing arts at Meredith.”
Tickets are free to Meredith faculty, staff and students, $10 general admission and $5 for students/seniors.
Call the Meredith College Box Office at (919) 760-2840 or email email@example.com to reserve seats.
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