The Tempest is widely believed to be the last play Shakespeare wrote himself. The parallels between the playwright's own journey and the story of a powerful magician facing and forgiving his enemies, and retiring from his "art" can't be ignored. As such, The Tempest is a popular swan song production for many in the theater. Our Tempest marked our final show with GiGi's Playhouse Chicago, and also with Co-Director Mallory Alcala, making Prospero's big monologue even more bittersweet:
Rehearsals began in late January as we focused on learning the characters and basic story. The tale divides into three separate plotlines – The Miranda & Ferdinand Love Story, the Trinculo/Stephano/Caliban clowns, and the Evil Plotting of Antonio & Sebastian. After spending several weeks learning these big plots, we held auditions in March; each teen performed a few lines from his/her favorite characters and told us what he/she most wanted to do. The final show was built around the strengths and preferences of the group. As always, our actors shared roles, with everyone having at least 3 scenes.
We can’t create without trusting, cooperating, and supporting one another. In class, we placed a lot of emphasis on our relationships and duties as an ensemble. We showed this work with partners in small scenes, and also musical numbers showcasing the ensemble as one big team. Everyone created a massive shipwreck with actors portraying the 4 elements (water = sea, fire = lightning, air = wind & thunder, and earth = the island). The Seniors performed Ariel’s song “Full Fathom Five” (set to the tune of “With a Little Help from My Friends”) and the Juniors performed Prospero’s wedding blessing (to the tune of “Eight Days A Week"). At the end of the play, the elements joined back together to portray the calm waters and happy winds that spirit everyone off the island.
Our ensemble attended a production of Short Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier and stayed afterwards for a Q&A with the cast
April 12, 2014 at Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre
GiGi’s Teen Drama Troupe
Mallory Schuh-Alcala & Katie Yohe
Kendra Van Kempen
Peter Van Kempen
Lighting and Sound Technician
Eric Van Tassell
Brandy Taylor of Graphic Sorbet