The Tempest PosterBy William Shakespeare

Directed by: Julie Hartley

Performances: November 17-20, 2004

Venue: Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages Building

Director's Note:

The Tempest is one of Shakespeare’s most magical plays, but how do we interpret that magic for a modern audience more likely to respond to the presence of fairies and spirits with cynicism than expressions of delight? Any play that calls for visual spectacle has a tough time in a technological age where the sight of aliens exploding, cities cloaked in a new ice age and spectacular combats aboard moving vehicles elicit barely a grasp from an audience.

Directors of recent years have tackled the problem of the play’s visual spectacle with varying degrees of success. The “strange shapes” called for in the banquet scene, for example, have resulted in a multitude of renditions, from barnacles, hedgehogs and apes to balaclava-wearing construction workers, or from actors encased in duvet covers, to green-faced Martians. Similarly, directors have responded to the challenge of the masque scene with airborne acrobats, palm-top puppets, and opera singers in period costumes. Given the visual demands of the play, it is hardly surprising that many directors have abandoned attempts to create magic, preferring instead to focus on the political aspects of the play.

Our aim has been to seek a relevant political interpretation of the play, not by downplaying its magic but rather by exploring spiritual and quasi-religious aspects of “magic” within the play. This idea emerged when we discovered that there was no critical consensus as to the source of Prospero’s magic; whether he brought it with him to the island or acquired it somehow upon his arrival. Shakespeare’s Prospero aims to succeed as over-lord of the island where he failed as Duke of Milan; our Prospero does so by controlling and subverting the spiritual life of its natives, using their power for his own means. Ironically, this interpretation opened up new avenues of exploration for us when it came to visual spectacle. It allowed us to contrast the rich, spiritual culture of the island with the stark, political one of the strangers shipwrecked on its shores, and to look at the way in which religion becomes a tool in the subversion and control of an entire people. It also allowed us to creative visual spectacle primarily through the movement of bodies in space rather needing the aid of technology.

The Tempest is, above all, a play about power. What happens to those who have it, and to those whose minds are twisted by their hunger for it? Most characters in this play struggle to gain or maintain power- at the expense of friendship, love and personal dignity. In fact, Prospero’s entire life can be seen as a journey towards a better understanding of power. But just as power struggles caused Prospero to suffer in Milan more than a decade ago, so the play points forward to a grim future upon his return to Dukedom.


Alonso - Joel Young

Sebastia - Natalie Mathieson

Prospero - Greg Carere

Antonio - Rasheed Ali

Ferdinand - Bryan Quinlan

Gonzalo - Melanie Bennett

Adrian - Kristin Wallace

Fransisco - Tamara Maurer

Caliban - Greg More

Trinculo - Jennifer Scullion

Staphano - Celeste Dickson

Master - Bryan Quinlan

Boatswain - Daniel Bacinello

Mariners - Kristin Wallace, Tamara Maurer

Miranda - Michelle Logan

Ariel - Amanda Kind

Natives - Brianne Gergovich, Bridget Myers, Celeste Dickson, Jennifer Scullion, Jessica O’Connor, Daniel Bacinello, Whitney Allen


Director - Julie Hartley

Assistant Director - Julia Harries

Set Design - William Chesney

Assistant Designer - Miranda E.J. Warner

Costume Design - Jocelyne Sobeski

Lighting Design - Scott Spidell

Sound Design - Fraser Smith

Musical Director - Amanda Kind


Stage Manager - Samantha Leask

Assistant Stage Managers - Diana Knoll, Jacqui Kaiser, James Peltzer

Production Manager - Robyn Gmeindl

Technical Director - Scott Spidell

Assistant Technical Director - Fraser Smith

Publicity - Robin Atchison

Publicity/FOH Crew - Melanie Bennett, Tara Velanoff

Program - Drama 301 Class

Head of Lighting - Danielle Jewinski

Lighting Crew - Brad Cook, Amy Cruickshank, Jonathan Davoodi, Mark Folkes

Carpentry Head - Gill Lesperance

Carpentry Crew - Ashley Bissonette, Greg Carere, Sabina Medarevic, Tara Parachuk, Brendan Riggs, Lindsay Weber

Paint Head - Emily Schooler

Props Head - Emily Howard

Paint and Props Crew - Julie Atchison, Stephanie Casselman, Jennifer Lorbetski, Bridget Myers

Wardrobe Head - Viktorija Kovac

Wardrobe Crew - Casse Ahrens, Jesse Ariss, Diana Costa, Michelle Jedrzejewski, Michelle Logan, Soraya Marinho, Michelle Williamson

Sound Operator - Amy Tait

Digital Images - Steve Ryder


The Grand Theatre (London), The Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People (Toronto), Doug Moore at Dynamics, Chritie Digital, Matt Ferrell, Peter Carette, Peter Houston (Theatre Centre, UW), Ben deSchiffert (Inter-Tech Controls), Bob Campling and John Parachuk (Kellogg’s Canada) for their generous sponsorship of the program, Yen Chu Design