Photo Flash: Independent Shakespeare Co. Presents THE TEMPEST at Old Zoo in Griffith Park
This summer INDEPENDENT SHAKESPEARE CO. presents an imaginative production of Shakespeare's final play, THE TEMPEST, featuring Thom Rivera as Prospero and directed by Matthew Earnest. THE TEMPEST will begin previews at THE GRIFFITH PARK FREE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL on Saturday, July 30 at 7pm and will open on Saturday, August 6 at 7:00pm and perform through Sunday, September 4 at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park. All ISC Summer Shakespeare productions are FREE to the public! THE TEMPEST is the second of two productions being presented at this year's GRIFFITH PARK FREE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL. RICHARD III played June 25 - July 24.
In THE TEMPEST, Shakespeare's final play, magic, first love and the forces of revenge intersect on a mysterious island. Prospero has spent 12 years in exile watching his growing daughter, Miranda, all the while plotting to punish his duplicitous brother with the sorcery he has been practicing. But when the opportunity presents itself, he learns that magic doesn't make the man, the world is stranger than it appears and that perhaps the past is only history.
Internationally recognized director Matthew Earnest will join ISC for the first time. A former assistant director to Adrian Hall and to Lee Breuer at Mabou Mines, Earnest is celebrated for his stylish, innovative approach to re-imagining classic works. Comments Earnest, "Prospero is the creator of what is essentially a large-scale immersive theater event. Our anachronistic approach to the design renders Time meaningless in the story of a family split apart and trying to reconcile, except, of course, for the painful fact that years lost from 'our little life' can never be regained. Our production's sculpted, choreographic style centers the landscape of the play on the human body, its miracles and its limitations, and it places the evening's conversation squarely where it belongs, on the 'bare, forked thing itself' - mankind, in his unavoidable, immediate present."
Comments ISC Managing Director David Melville, "THE TEMPEST is Shakespeare's final play; he was very conscious of his own approaching mortality and his retirement from the stage. The Globe was his little island where he led the narrative and created all these fantastic characters, so when Prospero breaks his staff, it's akin to Shakespeare putting away his quill. The play is a great choice for the festival because, alongside A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare explores the realm of magic and spirits. It's a family-friendly play with many fantastical elements, great clowns and a wonderful romantic story. Shakespeare explores the idea of family (he often used the relationship of a father and daughter) and he reaches an apotheosis where the father and daughter are stranded on a desert island. Ultimately it's a play about forgiveness, one of the most powerful things to experience in life and on stage. It's a moving story that's very uplifting."
Matthew Earnest (Director) has directed many productions of classics, operas, original works, adaptations, and US/world premieres that have garnered acclaim Off-Broadway, across the country, in Europe, Canada, and Africa. Supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and others, his work has received numerous awards, including The New York Times Critics Pick for Cleveland Scene, Best Director, Audience Favourite (Dublin), BIFF Award (NY Fringe), Dallas Theater Critics Forum Award, and others. Mathew is an associate artist at English Theater Berlin and a Drama League Directing Fellow.
The cast of THE TEMPEST will feature: Thom Rivera as Prospero, Patrick Batiste, Joseph Culliton, William Elsman, April Fritz, Lorenzo González, Faqir Hassan, Jack Lancaster, Tatiana Louder, Rudy Márquez, David Melville, Nathan Nonhoff, Stephany Pesta, Sean Pritchett, Lester Purry, Evan Lewis Smith, Erika Soto, and Kalean Ung.
Season Production Design is by Caitlin Lainoff. Season Lighting Design is by Bosco Flanagan. Costume Design is by William Bezek. Composer and Sound Design is by Chris Porter.
INDEPENDENT SHAKESPEARE CO. (ISC) produces accessible, imaginative performances of classical plays. We are the 2015 recipients of the LA Drama Critics Circle's highest honor, the Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theater, a 2016 recipient of an NEA ArtWorks grant and a grantee recipient of Bloomberg Philanthropies' Arts Innovation and Management Program. Since 2010 we have produced the Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival with the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks at the iconic Old Zoo. The growth in attendance of our free Shakespeare in the park program is extraordinary: at our first season (at Barnsdall Park in 2004), we played to fewer than 1,000 people; by 2015 our audience grew to over 47,000. Through classical theater we have attracted a community that is young (69% age 35 and under), diverse (45% identify as non-Caucasian and 75% are middle and lower income), and from all corners of Los Angeles. In 2012, we expanded our offerings with our indoor performance space, Independent Studio, where we present original work, re-imagined stagings of classics, readings, and classes. Beginning in 2016, ISC is implementing a growth plan that will see a dramatic increase in audience served, scope of programming and budget while maintaining our profound focus on our community. The plans include two structures: the Griffith Park Performing Arts Stage (a project of the City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation & Parks) and a new performing arts space (re-invented to better serve our community of artists and audience). For more information call 818-710-6306 or visit www.iscla.org.
Opening night was Saturday, August 5th, and performances continue, Wednesday-Sunday, until September 4th. All performances are at 7PM. All ISC Summer Shakespeare productions are FREE to the public.
Directions to the Old Zoo at Griffith Park are also available on the website.
Free, ample lot and street parking.
For information please call (818) 710-6306 or online at www.iscla.org
PHOTO CREDIT: Grettel Cortes
Lorenzo González, Sean Pritchett, and David Melville
Lorenzo González and David Melville