On Thursday, October 1, a group of Kalamazoo college students and theatre lovers boarded the bus to see The Tempest at the Chicago Theater.
The Chicago Theater’s rendition of Shakespeare’s The Tempest was thoroughly spell-binding and entertaining to watch. OSI’s Beyond the Hive trip to Chicago started and ended in high spirits.
Staged by Aaron Posner and Teller—whom some of us may know as “one half of Penn and Teller”—this magical, retro take on The Tempest relied less on the verses and delivery of the lines themselves than on the execution of theatrics.
The set, inspired by the Globe Theater’s design, also featured a live band playing music by Tom Waits. The soul-inspired, bluesy, haunting melodies fit perfectly with the nautical, vintage circus aesthetic of the show.
The show clairvoyantly mixed magic tricks such as levitation and disappearances with music, romance and comedy. The illusions did not take away from the tragicomic aspect of the play but added an entertainment value that made it accessible to everyone regardless whether one enjoys Shakespeare or not.
When asked what she thought of the show, Hannah Berger ‘14, summed up the experience: “The Tempest was one of the most ambitious and well executed performances I’ve ever seen. Every choice, from the sultry yet dark island music, to the actual magic tricks, was in service to making this play not only accessible but into a work of art.”
One of the most striking things about the show was two-headed Caliban, a native of the island where Prospero ruled. He was played by two actors, Manelich Minnifee and Zach Eisenstat, joined as one grotesque and fascinating entity.
His acrobatic performance and disturbing appearance was only one of the things executed well by the cast.
Nate Dandy, as the ephemeral Ariel, held the audience captive with his card tricks, while Larry Yando, true to his repertoire as a Shakespearean actor, balanced out the humanity of Prospero with his sorcery.
As a testament to their performance, they were saluted with a standing ovation by the audience at curtain call.