Studio 1 puts its spin on Shakespearean classic
By Charity Apple / Times-News
Posted Jul. 9, 2015 at 3:45 AM
As the wooden vessels rolled and moved in circles, flashes of light, loud claps of thunder and a light wind made theatergoers feel as if they were in the middle of a tumultuous storm out at sea. The movement of the performers on stage, circling ’round and ’round created a dizzying, almost seasick feeling.
This is the brilliance behind the staging of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest, A Comedy” at Studio 1.
While Shakespeare’s words most certainly can stand on their own, director Bethany Baker has seen to it that audiences won’t just remember the verse and prose, but will be treated to a sensory experience unlike any other.
Flowing fabrics create an almost ethereal feeling amongst the dancers (“island spirits”). There’s also a great bird — designed to be a frightening creature, controlled by fellow performers. Costume designers Heather Leonard, Nancy James, Peggy Bazakas, Ross Hureau and Kate Dahlquist have really taken into account the senses when creating these garments.
This isn’t your high-school English version of Shakespeare. It is in-your-face stuff that will not only hold audiences’ attentions, but may encourage you to reread “The Tempest” this summer.
Baker teaches drama at The Burlington School and her take on the show encourages folks to watch Shakespearean dramas.
“The truth is that Shakespeare is considered one of the world’s greatest writers, ever, but you cannot appreciate his works unless they are performed,” she noted in the playbill.
Her husband, Joe Don Baker, balked at the idea of the show at first. But Joe Don, who plays Antonio, seemed to be having a great time and admitted to his wife that this is great material.
Bethany Baker has even included a primer in the playbill to indicate what some of those Shakespearean words really mean.
The stunning aspect of this show is that these performers have not only memorized the dialogue, but they deliver it in such effortless ways. Walter Boyd is so convincing as Prospero that you almost forget he’s playing a part.
Kate Dahlquist is spell-binding as the spirit Ariel. She flits about the stage, like a fairy should; it will be difficult to take your eyes off this beautiful creature. Equally as entertaining is Derrick Dill as Caliban, the disfigured slave who spends most of the show crawling around on his hands and knees, hissing at new inhabitants to his beloved island.
Austin Prebula (Ferdinand) and Chappell Hartsell (Miranda), as the wide-eyed lovers, have great chemistry on stage while Joe Don Baker, Shawn Dahlquist (Sebastian), Adam Belcher (Stephano) and Adrian Beck (Trinculo) provide much-needed comic relief.
Shakespeare shouldn’t be something to be feared, and this show demonstrates both the beauty behind it and the magic. “The Tempest, A Comedy” is a celebration of Shakespeare’s works with quick-timing, special effects and memorable acting.