If a story about shipwrecked men lost in an enchanted island discovering magic and trying to figure out their purpose in life sounds interesting, then go check out The Tempest at DeBaun Auditorium this month.
The Hoboken-based Actors Shakespeare Company (ASC) presents the complex Shakespeare play on June 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, and 22 at DeBaun on Fifth and Hudson streets in Hoboken.
Hudson County's only professional theater company, ASC is a repertory ensemble founded in October of 2000. It's dedicated to performing the works of Shakespeare and the other classics with the same passion and excitement enjoyed by their original audiences. Actors study the language and tackle dance and music styles of the period. This preparation, coupled with the best in contemporary acting techniques and a modern production atmosphere, provides audiences with the finest in classic theater and entertainment.
The Tempest, the classic tale of spirits, sorcery, monsters, maidens, and scheming shipwrecked noblemen is brilliantly brought to life in ASC's newest production. Rarely has this fantastical play been seen with the attention to ritual, alchemy, mysticism, and pageantry that was integral to the world-view of early 17th century Europe. As "Prospero," ASC veteran Richard Ferrone leads the Company in its greatest effort to date, a triumph of the human spirit and a testimony to the power of forgiveness.
Ferrone has performed in more than 75 productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway, in regional theaters, and in tours. His experience runs the gamut from the classic works of Shakespeare and Brecht to the contemporary theater of Mamet and Durang.
Playing the role of "Miranda" is ASC regular and New York City resident Kathleen Edwards. An NYU graduate, Edwards has appeared in many cabaret productions and spent one year in the European tour of Hair playing "Chrissy." She then performed in several dramatic productions including "Sylvia" in Goat Island and "Bianca" in Man and Woman. In addition to theatre, for the past several years she has been working in voice-over and on-camera commercials.
Tempest is directed by ASC's Collette Rice. ASC's trademark is their preservation of the original Elizabethan language during a play's performance. ASC produces Shakespearean plays as close as possible to the author's original productions, which were often held at England's Globe Theater in the 16th century. Shakespeare's notations in the "First Folio" editions, as historians call the first printed manuscripts recorded in 1623 expressing the author's original intent, are part of the text used by the company.
"Presenting plays as Shakespeare would have wanted it is actually becoming a counter-revolution of sorts," Rice said. "Presentations work best in the original style, though the popular thing to do is 'modernize' the production. The difference is in the relationship between the actor and the audience, and the actor and the words."
To promote ASC and to continue learning about Shakespeare, Rice spent time at the Globe Theater in England last summer, where she studied language and acting with world-renowned Shakespearean actors. The Globe is known to the world as Shakespeare's theatrical home.
"Thinking of The Globe as the 'mother-ship,' it was good to touch base and fine-tune my knowledge of Shakespearean techniques directly from such masters of the craft as Mark Rylance and those leading the Shakespeare's Globe experiment," Rice said.
To the modern ear, Elizabethan English has obscured Shakespeare's inventiveness. However, Shakespeare coined such phrases as having "too much of a good thing," "clearing out your bag," and calling someone "the devil incarnate," a "laughing stock," and a "blinking idiot."
The Tempest will be performed at DeBaun Auditorium on June 13, 14, 20, 21 at 8 p.m. and June 15 and 22 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20. The venue is at Castle Point on Hudson on Fifth and Hudson streets in Hoboken. For information visit www.debaun.org or call (201) 216-8937. q