When coordinators Pat Piper & Tammy Hileman set out to organize a summer Shakespeare offering, they do all of the above. They re-read the flowery dated text. They re-do the script by typing it in sentence form (but do not change the language, after all, that’s half the fun of Shakespeare). They re-set it in strange lands or modern times with gender reversals and sometimes re-assignment of lines to different characters than Shakespeare originally intended. They add music. They RE-IMAGINE the works of the Bard.
In an unprecedented move, Coordinators and the Shakespearean Portrayers bring to you, for a second consecutive year, a re-imagined work. For 2017, they will be presenting one of William Shakespeare’s final works: “The Tempest”.
“The Tempest” has a bit of everything: star-crossed lovers, family betrayal, magic and sprites, and one heck of a shipwreck. Billed as a comedy, it is really a tragicomedy with all the universal human elements: love, hate, sacrifice, greed, trust and treachery and most importantly, forgiveness.
As in the past, the play will be performed by high school through college age students, something coordinators feel very passionate about. “This age benefits most, as this is when Shakespeare is a part of their classwork,” says Hileman, “we teach them not to fear. Shakespeare is meant to be heard, not read. Once they understand that, they’ve won half the battle.”
Piper continues, “we’ve often worried about billing them as “kids” performing Shakespeare for fear that could make a potential audience member believe it will be a performance where the “kids” stumble over words and pontificate as they would imagine a Shakespearean actor would. It is not like that at all. We work really hard so that the actors know WHAT they are saying and even if the audience doesn’t catch every word, they will get it. Having travelled far and wide to see professional Shakespeare, we would confidently put our young Shakespearean Portrayers up against professional productions.”
Speaking of these fine, young actors, “The Tempest” cast, representing all three Miami County school systems and two Indiana colleges, are as follows: Kiley Stiers (Prospera), Ethan Kimm (Caliban), Avery Jackson (Ariel), Quenton Freeman (Stephano), Blake Martin (Sebastian) Lily McBride (Trinculo), Madison Krieg (Miranda), Dominick Gard (Antonio),April Wolfe (Gonzala), Austin White (Alonzo), Austin Hunter (Ferdinand), Isabella McBride (Swab), & Katie Parker (Swab). Sea shanty musical stylings by Aaron Birnell, Quentin Watson, & Aaron Jones as well as cast members Blake Martin and April Wolfe.
“The Tempest” re-imagined as if it were a Pirates of the Caribbean story, will be presented on July 28, 29, 30 and August 4 & 5, 2017 at Maconaquah High School Auditorium. These performances are FREE to the public. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8pm and Sunday is at 2pm. Again, these performances are FREE, in an air conditioned auditorium that will have new seating. You can’t go wrong for a family outing, savvy?
Shows are graciously sponsored by: NICF, REMC Roundup, Psi Iota Xi and Ryan Schmidt of Edward Jones and are offered in partnership with Ole Olsen Memorial Theatre and Maconaquah High School.
When asked WHY they feel so passionately about re-imagining Shakespeare, Piper and Hileman will bend your ear for hours. They will tell you they were inspired by Kurt Schindler modernizing and re-imagining Cole Porter songs as well as Jayne Kesler for starting a Shakespeare outreach program for junior high students. They will cite that it is a cultural benefit to the entire community, a full immersion study project for the participants, and a recruiting mechanism for local theatres. They will tell you that kids who participate in the arts have significantly higher test scores than those who do not; they will tell you that there is a place for EVERYONE in theatre and often those who do not excel in athletics or academics find a place to shine in the theatre. All these things, and a passion for this project – for learning along with their Shakespearean Portrayers – keeps them Re-Imagining. After all, “we are such stuff that dreams are made on, and our little lives rounded with sleep.” (William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, Act 4, Sc 1).