Friday, May 16, 2008
The Tempest works its magic at CCHS
The soothing sound of undulating waves can be heard in the background. All is quiet as the rocks shimmer with blue light, and not a soul can be seen on the whole island.
This may seem like the ideal vacation getaway, but for two stranded ex-nobility, it’s not. Exiled for twelve years, the father and daughter, Prospero and Miranda, have only the clothes on their backs, a meager supply of island fruit, and a trunk full of spell books. This deserted island is home to one of the most dramatic plays ever written by Shakespeare, The Tempest.
For its annual Shakespearean play, Concord-Carlisle High School (CCHS) has chosen one of the last dramas written entirely by the Bard. Remaining performances are scheduled for May 17 at 7:30 p.m. and May 18 at 1:30 p.m. at CCHS. Tickets are available at the door.
“It’s a very good play to be doing as my last one,” said Ted Alexander, a senior who portrays the boatswain who opens the play. The audience first sees the boatswain and his waterlogged crew as they attempt to sail through a fierce storm that has sprung up seemingly out of nowhere. Unbeknownst to the crew, they are close to the island where Prospero and Miranda are stranded.
Prospero has studied magic and has managed to enslave a mischievous spirit named Ariel, who can call up storms at her command. When Prospero sees the ship approaching, he orders Ariel to whip up a tempest that will shipwreck the sailors. To make sure his plan succeeds, Prospero also creates the illusion that the ship has suddenly cracked down the middle. The sailors are forced to jump overboard and desperately swim for the island.
Prospero, who was the Duke of Milan, has a good reason to want to damage this ship. His treacherous brother, Antonio, is on board. Twelve years ago, Antonio and Alonso, the King of Naples, plotted to exile Prospero and his daughter in order to gain his power. Prospero secretly made sure that his pitiful boat, designed to capsize at sea, would in fact be large enough to hold water, food and his spell books. With these supplies, Prospero and Miranda managed to survive until they found the island.
Prospero settles the score
Prospero now finds the perfect way to settle the score with his brother and Alonso. With his superior knowledge of the island and his command of magic, he plays the part of the puppet master perfectly. First he divides the crew of the wrecked ship into three groups, each with its own agenda. One group attempts to rally against Prospero; another tries to drink themselves to death. A third party may even hold love for Miranda. Meanwhile, Alonso and Antonio are out on their own, plotting a way to find Prospero and take him down.
Each subplot is filled with much humor and jokes that even modern-day audiences will enjoy. The CCHS cast is simply amazing as they cavort about the stage and spew out Shakespearean lines with a skill that would make any English teacher green with envy.
The crew, as well, is outstanding. The stage is filled with convincing landscapes worthy of any tropical island. Even the stage floor is cleverly designed, with hidden trapdoors and secret passageways that let the cast members appear on opposite sides of the stage as if by magic.
“I’m very pleased with what I’ve been seeing the past few days,” said George Kendall, the director of the show and the drama teacher at CCHS. They are, he added, “an amazing bunch.” ∆
© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito