The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Accidental Shakespeare Theatre Company introduces itself and an original design concept with The Tempest in February 2013. The production places the magic and spectacle of the play into the context of the early 17th century. The design team, led by Angeli Primlani, has invented what we call "Alchemy Punk," like Cyberpunk or Steampunk, but powered by wind and magic. So-called magicians, astrologers, and alchemists of the time were just discovering elementary physics, chemistry, astronomy, and navigation. Do not be confused by all the talk of spirits. Scholars of the natural world studied the supernatural with the same intensity. Fairies and elves and witches were believed to be every bit as much a part of the natural world as Mendel's peas or Galileo's stars. There was a clash of worlds among the spiritual, scientific, and political elements; very much what we are experiencing today.
Alchemy Punk is to the early 17th century what Steampunk is to the 19th century and Cyberpunk is to the late 20th century. It's a fantasy that is rooted in the real world, just kicked up a notch.
Alchemy Punk is right where the two genres of fantasy and science fiction collide. As Arthur C. Clarke said, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, and in the early 17th century nobody bothered to make that distinction anyway. Real court magicians cast horoscopes ... and invented celestial navigation. Alchemists tried to turn lead into gold ... and ended up isolating oxygen. All science was mad science. It's worth noting that the Alchemists were right. You can transmute lead into gold. All you need is a particle accelerator.
Meanwhile Europeans had discovered a brave new world, and oh what goodly creatures did they find! People and animals that were so unfamiliar that they might as well have been spirits or monsters. There was a dark side to this too. Ordinary people looked to these new lands and wondered if they too could be kings, if they could only trick or conquer or enslave these strange creatures, they could change their fates. And there were princes like Prospero, so engaged in his pursuit of knowledge that they put their lands in political turmoil.
But that's what any good fantasy should be. Fantasy stories are always about the world we really live in. They allow us to stand outside that world and see something new. Many productions of The Tempest allow themselves to get distracted by the magical stuff. But like with any genre piece, you are fundamentally telling a story about people. The Tempest is about people who are caught in the whirlwind of fundamental change. It is a story about revenge and pride, and of love and forgiveness.
Welcome to our world.
Angeli Primlani, Director, is the Artistic Director and founding member of The Accidental Shakespeare Theater Company. She is a director, producer, playwright and performer who has worked with Rasaka Theater Company in Chicago, with Puchmeyer and Misery Loves Company in Prague, Czech Republic and with various regional theaters in the Southeast.
Cast members include Christopher Aruffo (Prospero), Jared McDaris (Ariel), Jamel Booth (Caliban), Mary-Kate Arnold (Miranda), Chris Berghoff (Ferdinand), Gary Henderson (Trinculo), Andrew Mehegan (Stephano), John Amedio (Antonio), Evan Johnson (Sebastian), Julia Kessler (Gonzalo), and Aaron Wertheim (Alonso).
The creative team members are Patrick Ham (scenic), Kate Setzer Kamphausen (costume), Benjamin Dionysus (lighting), Margaretta Tobias (properties), and Ashly Will Dulane (movement).
Heartland Studio Theater
7016 N. Glenwood Avenue
Chicago, IL 60626
|Minimum Age: 10|
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|