The Shakespeare Theatre Company Presents William Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST
The Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) continues its 2014-2015 mainstage season with one of William Shakespeare's late masterpieces,The Tempest. STC Affiliated Artist Ethan McSweeny, following his imaginative production of A Midsummer Night's Dream two seasons ago, applies his flair for visual panache to The Tempest, in which sprites, goddesses and fools hold court. The Tempest will play at the Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW) from December 2, 2014-January 11, 2015.
McSweeny reunites with several members of the Midsummer design team, including scenic designer Lee Savage and costume designer Jennifer Moeller, to turn the stage of Sidney Harman Hall into a theatrical island playground. Adding to this magical production will be sprites and goddesses embodied by larger-than-life-puppets and masks, under the design and guidance of James Ortiz. Flying Director Stu Cox, with flying effects provided by ZFX, Inc., takes Ariel into the sky, flying over Prospero's dominion.
"After Ethan's brilliant production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, I specifically asked him to do The Tempest because he has the ability to create a magical world on stage, combining theatricality with a real attention to the language," says STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn.
Leading the ensemble as Prospero, the deposed Duke of Milan and a powerful magician, isGeraint Wyn Davies, who has previously appeared at STC in such roles as Richard III and his Helen Hayes Award-winning turn as Cyrano de Bergerac. A frequent performer at Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, he most recently appeared there in Antony and Cleopatra. Full cast and artistic team information is included below.
In The Tempest, Prospero raises a great storm to wreck the vessel bearing his betrayers onto the shores of the mysterious island he has made his home. There, attended upon by his daughter, a magical sprite and a villainous prisoner, Prospero leads them through a mysterious dream on the course from vengeance to reconciliation.
"It is widely believed that The Tempest is Shakespeare's final work and through that lens it is hard not to see how he infuses the play with a bittersweet farewell to his muse. On some level, Prospero, Ariel and Caliban embody the relationship between the artist, muse and work," says Ethan McSweeny. "One of the other great threads of The Tempest is a classic revenge narrative that explores the very nature of forgiveness. It has always meant a lot to me that at the end of his career, it is in forgiveness that Shakespeare starts to locate the saving virtue of our humanity."
FAMILY WEEK AT THE TEMPEST
From December 13-20 the Shakespeare Theatre Company hosts a special week of programming for families and children of all ages. Events include performances ofThe Tiny Tempest for ages 5-10, plus behind the scenes discussions and demonstrations on stage effects, costumes and more. Visit www.ShakespeareTheatre.org/FamilyWeek for information on all the events and activities.
The Tempest is sponsored by Arlene and Robert Kogod, with additional support fromShare Fund and KPMG LLP.
The Tempest begins previews on Tuesday, December 2; celebrates Opening Night onMonday, December 8; and runs through Sunday, January 11. To purchase tickets or to learn more, patrons can call the box office at 202.547.1122 or visit ShakespeareTheatre.org.
Geraint Wyn Davies, who plays Prospero, returns to STC, having previously appeared as the title roles in Richard III (2007), and Cyrano (2004), for which he won a Helen Hayes Award for best actor. He also appeared as Don Adriano de Armado in the Company's production of Love's Labor's Lost, which traveled to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon.Wyn Davies began his career at London's Centre Stage Theatre Company before going on to perform for eight seasons with both the Shaw Festival and the Stratford Festival in Canada. In England, he continued his stage career with the British Actors Theatre Company; Wales' leading theatre company, Theatre Clwyd; the Chichester Festival; and the Original Shakespeare Company. Other theatre credits include performances at Lincoln Center and with the Atlantic Theatre Festival.
Playing Gonzalo is Affiliated Artist Ted van Griethuysen, who has been with the company since 1987. His recent performances include Owen Glendower in Henry IV, Part 1, and Justice Shallow in Henry IV, Part 2; Antigonus/Old Shepherd in the mainstage and Free For All performances of The Winter's Tale;Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream; as well as his roles in All's Well That Ends Well, Mrs. Warren's Profession, Richard II, Henry V, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Julius Caesar, The Tempest, King Lear, Hamlet and many others. His impressive theatrical resume includes Inadmissible Evidence on Broadway; award-winning regional roles including Studio Theatre's The Life of Galileo and The Steward of Christendom; and international work at Battersea Arts Center, Arcola Theatre and Trafalgar Studios in London. His awards include seven Helen Hayes Awards, The Will Award, the Drama Critics Award (NYC) and the Richard Bauer Award for Outstanding Contribution to Washington Theatre.
Returning to STC's stage after a successful run of Free for All's The Winter's Tale is David Bishins as Sebastian. Some of his New York credits include The Glass House at The Clurman; We Declare You a Terrorist at SPF at The Public; Incident at Vichy at The Actors Company Theatre; Catch-22 at Lortel; Sympathetic Magic at Second Stage; The Nest at Tectonic Theater Project; Boys in the Band at WPA & Lortel; and Tower of EviI at Classic Stage Company. He has also been a part of numerous regional productions such asAppropriate at Woolly Mammoth Theatre; Much Ado About Nothing at Barrington Stage;Brighton Beach Memoirs/Broadway Bound and Life of Riley at The Old Globe; To Kill a Mockingbird at Intiman; and roles at Long Wharf, Vermont Stage, Wilma, Pittsburgh Public and Hartford Stage. Bishins has also been on the big screen in films such as SALT, The Adjustment Bureau, Henry's Crime, Sorry, Haters!, The War Within, and The Magic Helmetand in television in shows such as Homeland, Blue Bloods, Fringe, Babylon Fields (pilot), and The Law & Order canon.
Clifton Duncan, seen before at STC in Pericles and A Midsummer Night's Dream (2004), returns to play Caliban. His previous credits include Off-Broadway productions of The Good Person of Szechwan, Twelfth Night, Kung-Fu and the New York City Center Encores production of Lost in the Stars. He has appeared regionally in The Scottsboro Boys at The Old Globe/American Conservatory Theater, Ruined at Arena Stage, The Rivals at Center Stage, as well as New York Stage and Film, Yale Repertory Theatre, Signature Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Chautauqua Theater Company, among others.
The cast of As You Like It includes Nancy Anderson as Voice, Avery Clark as Adrian,Liam Craig as Trinculo, Sean Fri as Boatswain, Avery Glymph as Ferdinand, Sofia Jean Gomez as Ariel, C. David Johnson as Alonso, Gregory Linington asAntonio, Rachel Mewbron asMiranda, Dave Quay as Stephano. Other cast members includes Freddie Bennett, Ross Destiche, Asia Kate Dillon, Ben Henderson, Dan Jones, Matthew Pauli,Stephanie Schmalzle, Kedren Spencer, Jessica Thorne and Katherine Renee Turner.
Ethan McSweeny grew up in Washington, D.C., and is a Shakespeare Theatre Company Affiliated Artist who has wowed audiences with his distinctive production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in 2012. Previous credits with STC include Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, Ion, Major Barbara and The Persians. In New York, he received a Tony Award nomination and 2001 Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards for his revival of Gore Vidal's The Best Man. Among his many directorial credits are the world premieres of100 Saints You Should Know (Playwrights Horizon) and Jason Grote's 1001 (Page 73), which were both selected to be among the "Top Ten Plays" of 2007 by Time Out andEntertainment Weekly magazines. Internationally, he has directed Pirates of Penzance andDangerous Liaisons at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and more than 70 productions regionally, including at the Guthrie Theater, Goodman Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, Alley Theatre, Center Stage, Playwrights Horizons, and the National Actors Theatre. From 2004 to 2012 he led the Chautauqua Theatre Company, directing productions including Love's Labor's Lost, Glass Menagerie, Death of a Salesman, The Just, The Cherry Orchard, All My Sons and Cobb in addition to numerous readings in the New Play Workshop series that he inaugurated in 2005.
Creating the world of The Tempest's desert island playground are Scenic Designer Lee Savage, Costume Designer Jennifer Moeller, Lighting Designer Christopher Akerlind, Sound Designer Nevin Steinberg and Composer Jenny Giering. The company is also joined by Puppet Designer and Coach James Ortiz and Flying Director Stu Cox, with flying effects provided by ZFX, Inc. The production Choreographer is Matthew Gardiner.
For this production, McSweeny is assisted by Resident Casting Director Carter C. Wooddell, Voice and Text Coach Gary Logan, Music Coach/Movement Consultant Nancy Anderson, Literary Associate Drew Lichtenberg, Assistant Director Craig Baldwin, Directorial Assistant Katherine Burris, Production Stage Manager Joseph Smelser, Assistant Stage Manager Kristy Matero, Assistant Stage Manager Hannah R. O'Neil, and Production Assistant Christopher Kee Anaya-Gorman.
*Artists and dates are subject to change.