Shakespeare's legendary show of love, loss and reunion is a challenge for any high school drama department. However, St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School did not shy away from the complex language or intertwining plots to put on excellent production of "The Tempest."
A storm hits the seas, sending Queen Alonsa's ship into turmoil. Waves, symbolized by rippling blue cloths, toss the cast around. The boatswain declares that all hope is lost, and the Queen is ushered to shelter. When the storm settles, the hapless passengers have been scattered on a strange island ruled by the powerful Prospero. The Queen has been separated from her son, Ferdinand, who manages to find his way to Prospero's where he falls in love with Propero's beautiful daughter, Miranda. Trinculo, the Queen's jester, and Stefano, a butler, manage to find each other, as well as Prospero's unruly slave, Caliban. At the end of the show, all come together again, just in time for the marriage of Miranda and Ferdinand.
As the romantic leads of the show, Kate Thomas, (Miranda) and Tim Sellon (Prince Ferdinand) were thoroughly convincing in their roles as young lovers. Thomas, making her St. Stephen's & St. Agnes debut, masterfully delivered her lines, allowing time for the audience to translate before continuing. Sellon's body language and facial expressions helped distinguish his character as a man who would do anything for love.
Reminiscent of Shakespeare's character Puck, from "A Midsummer Night's Dream," the playful Ariel, servant to Prospero, visits much mischief upon the unfortunate passengers roaming the island. However, in this production, Ariel is split up among four girls, Courtenay Philbrick, Anne Komer, Morgan Yarnoff and Annabelle Killmer. This allows the character to have the appearance of omnipresence, and the graceful movements, choreographed by Kat Funkhouser, identify Ariel as a non-human entity.
There were moments when lighting left actors in the dark, and when lines were delivered too quickly, but the student-composed harpsichord music, written by Andrew Wyse and Natalie Richards, added to the mood, whether it was a foreboding tune or a sprightly ditty.
Don't be afraid, let St. Stephen's & St. Agnes tempt you to this weekend's production of "The Tempest" on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11 and 12, at 8 p.m.