Theatre-in-the-Making presents Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” at the Vortex Theatre, 2900 Carlisle NE. Performances are Thursday, July 9, Friday, July 10 and Saturday, July 11 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, July 12 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8 for the general public in advance at http://www.vortexabq.org or, if available, at the door.
By David Steinberg
Brian Haney wants audiences – even young theatergoers – to think about how the issue of transformation can be seen in the Theatre-in-the-Making production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”
In particular, the transformation of Prospero from a person seeking vengeance and finding justice for the wrongs committed against him.
“Prospero is the clearest example of that in the play,” said Haney, who is the director. “From the moment the play begins he sees the opportunity to exact vengeance on his enemies and does everything … to make that happen. As he gets right up to that moment, it is in fact not what he wants. Instead, he chooses to forgive his enemies.”
Haney wants young people – including the cast who range in age from 7 to 18 – to consider that issue of transformation.
“Especially in working with young people it’s about embracing the idea that you can be more or different than what you are in this particular moment. That can exciting and also scary,” he said.
Indeed, everyone, regardless of age, grapples at moments in their lives in hoping to be more than what they are.
The play’s title refers to the storm that Prospero conjures to bring his enemies close to him.
The character of Caliban, the monster on the island and a servant to Prospero, has his own struggle to find his freedom, to restore the magical powers he once possessed.
“Caliban’s vision of freedom, I think, is being allowed to do whatever he wants. At one point he was on the island by himself. This island belonged to him,” Haney said.
In this production, the character of Ariel, Prospero’s spirit who has magical powers, is split into five personalities. So Ariel can be in multiple places at once.
“Prospero keeps thinking of ways to keep Ariel in his service, to do one more thing before he sets him free. The journey of Ariel is of finding his way back to himself, as one, again,” Haney said.
Miranda, Prospero’s daughter, battles to find her own freedom. Her father had been the only person she has known for the 12 years they’ve been on the island.
The production, he said, is an extension of the Vortex’s Shakespeare festival . The Vortex and the city of Albuquerque this summer are presenting “Julius Caesar” and “The Taming of the Shrew” on Civic Plaza.
Haney was asked why he thinks “The Tempest” is valuable for young people to perform and to see.
“It’s a tale of adventure. There’s magic, spirits, love and romance, and a happy ending. All of these things make it an obvious play for young people,” he said.
“The complexity of ‘Tempest’ has been a real challenge for me and a challenge for (the young actors) to bring it to life on stage. …”