THEATER REVIEW by Alec Clayton for OLY ARTS
The Tempest — third and final of this area’s outdoor-summer-Shakespeare plays — opened Thursday, August 15 at the viewing tower at Olympia’s Port Plaza. It opened with the crash of thunder and lightning in a chaotic scene of a storm at sea performed in front of the dramatic background of the Port of Olympia, replete with live seagull caws adding to the sense of place. From there, a cadre of Olympia’s finest actors performed magic and romance for an hour and a half in a play significantly and expertly adapted by director Kate Ayers from the much longer original script, cutting out characters and entire scenes to leave a core of exciting drama.
Prospero (Brian Tyrrell), the former duke of Milan who has magical powers, had been deposed by his brother Antonio (Michael Christopher) and exiled to an island 12 years before. It was Prospero’s magic, aided by his spirit companion Ariel (Silva Goetz), that caused the storm at sea, which wrecked the ship and stranded its passengers, including Antonio, on Prospero’s island.
The Tempest has been called a comedy and a romance. It is also one of Shakespeare’s last plays if not the last, and one of his most complex, containing multiple plot points and a lot of outrageous comedy with equal amounts of drama and romance.
Tyrrell, one of the South Sound’s most celebrated actors, is majestic — almost godlike, yet thoroughly human and compassionate — as Prospero. Kate Anders is lovely and exciting to watch as Prospero’s daughter, Miranda.
Michael Christopher’s Antonio and Christian Carvajal’s Sebastian are a joy to watch as they conspire together.
The trio of hideous monster Caliban (Drew Doyle), the king’s jester Trinculo (Heather Christopher) and the king’s drunken butler Stephano (John Serembe) provide comic relief beyond belief. Goetz’s Ariel is a joy to watch, with her beautiful, blue gown flowing like wings as she runs all over the plaza. In short, the cast is outstanding and the play is a delightful spectacle.
8 p.m. Thursdays – Saturdays, Aug. 15-31 (except Aug. 24)
Port Plaza, 701 Columbia St. NW, Olympia