Washingtonians will brave a wintery mix to experience a different sort of weather — a ravaging storm brought to life through outstanding stagecraft — at the Harman Center for the Arts near the Verizon Center, for the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of The Bard of Avon’s famous play, “The Tempest.”
Monday’s opening-night production of what is thought to be Shakespeare’s final play was directed by Ethan McSweeny and starred Geraint Wyn Davies in the central role of Prospero the magician, who rules a desolate island accompanied only by his daughter Miranda (Rachel Mewbron), and the monster Caliban (Clifton Duncan). Prospero is assisted by Ariel (Sofia Jean Gomez), a magical sprite, who spends most of the play in flying harness, soaring above the stage with the grace and ease of a bird.
Shakespeare’s immortal story and dialogue, and the sterling acting of the cast, were supplemented by fantastic production values depicting thunderstorms, shipwrecks, and Ariel’s magical companions, that could easily have been found in a modern Broadway spectacular. One audience member, Randy Gafner of Alexandria, described the production as “jaw-dropping… The hauntingly beautiful giant gossamer puppets in the second act were amazing… So was the sight of Ariel flying above the stage like Peter Pan. It was truly a world class production, in my opinion.”
*Images credit Scott Suchman