By MARY LOU LINVILL
Strange bedfellows! A brave new world! Shipwreck! See it all on the City Park playground stage when Winters Shakespeare Workshop presents Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” on Friday and Saturday, July 21 and 22, at 8 p.m. Admission is Free.
Bring your lawn chair or blanket and watch Winters Shakespeare Workshop’s 19th season of professional quality summer Shakespeare, performed by local teens, produced by Mary Lou Linvill and directed by Andrew Fridae. Production managers/acting coaches for this show are Christi Van Eyken, Allie Griffey and Gabi Svozil. Choreographer Hope Raymond has worked with the cast to create movement and dances to original music, composed, arranged and played by Nick Carvajal and Ryley Fairfield, and sung by WSW performers.
The set for The Tempest was designed and painted by Winters graphic designer Patty Graves and artist Bob Armstrong. Winters costumer Jessica Watt has designed and built beautiful costumes for performers who each play multiple roles. Swords and daggers for this performance were created by Aldo Rominger.
“The Tempest” opens with a wild storm at sea. The Queen of Naples (Andrea Valadez) and her court are caught by the raging waves as Prospero (Gabi Svozil) and his daughter Miranda (Victoria Banuelos) watch from the enchanted island where they have been marooned for the past 12 years. Prospero has created the storm with his magic to trap the enemies who stole his dukedom and cast him adrift with his infant daughter so many years ago. Two spirits (Sarah Thompson) on Prospero’s island serve him. They are Ariel, an airy spirit, and Caliban, an angry half-devil.
Prospero causes the court of Naples to be cast up on his island in three separate groups. Each group is sure that all others have been drowned by the storm. First, the queen, her faithful courtier Gonzalo (Liam Allen), her brother Sebastian (Aldo Rominger), and Prospero’s sister Antonia (Valeria Ceja) find themselves together. The queen is in despair because she is sure her beloved son Ferdinand (Olivia Steele) is drowned. While Gonzalo tries to comfort her, Antonia and Sebastian plot to kill her and put Sebastian in her place.
Meanwhile, on another part of the island, Ferdinand wanders alone, sure that he is the only survivor of the tempest. Miranda discovers him, the first man she has ever seen, apart from her father. Prospero traps Ferdinand with his magic and puts him to work, warning Miranda against him. In spite of her father’s warnings, Miranda and Ferdinand fall in love.
The third group wandering the island under Prospero’s spell are the jester, Trinculo (Ryan Buscher), and the drunken butler, Stefano (Allie Griffey). They introduce the monster Caliban to the wine they have saved from the shipwreck. Caliban declares them his new Kings, and offers to help them kill Prospero and rule the island, but Ariel thwarts their plan, leading and chasing them through swamps and briars.
Through a series of misadventures and enchantments, the courtiers and the islanders resolve their conflicts. The queen finds her son, and gives her permission for his marriage to Miranda. She restores Prospero to his Dukedom, and punishes the drunken plotters, Stefano and Trinculo. All plan to return to Naples on their ship, which has miraculously survived the storm, as Prospero frees the spirit Ariel and gives up his enchantments.
Winters Shakespeare Workshop is a summer youth program of Winters Friends of the Library, open to all teens, ages 13-19. For more information call 795-3476, find the Winters Shakespeare Workshop on Facebook, or visit WFOL.org.
Photo by MaryLou Linvill: Andrea Valadez plays Queen Alonza in “The Tempest,” seen here with a huge fruit sculpture designed by Winters artist Jeff Hesemeyer.