Buy Tickets From the 2015-2016 Season: The Tempest Playing November 07, 2015 to November 29, 2015

$15 General Admission Preview Thursday November 5, 2015
$20 General Admission Preview Friday November 6, 2015

Artistic Director Jeff Watkins

Shipwrecked after a violent storm, little do the survivors know that they have landed on an enchanted isle controlled by Prospero, the magician and full of sprites and other extraordinary creatures. Prospero’s magic can do many things, but will it mend a family feud and set Ariel and Caliban free? Come and see what fantastical events will be.

No performance on Thanksgiving.

Join the cast and crew members for a lively Question and Answer session on Sunday November 15 after the show! 

Read the Plot Synopsis

Twelve years before the play begins, Antonio, helped by the King of Naples, Alonso, usurped his brother Prospero’s dukedom of Milan and put Prospero and his child Miranda to sea in a rotten boat. They reached a far-off island where Prospero resorted to the books on magic that a loyal lord, Gonzalo, had sent with him. He freed Ariel, an ”airy spirit” whom the dead witch, Sycorax, had imprisoned in a cloven pine, and he attempted to educate the witch’s son, the deformed Caliban. When Caliban sought to rape Miranda, Prospero made him into a slave.

Prospero tells the story to his daughter just after the raising of a magical storm that has cast upon the island Alonso and Antonio with Alonso’s son Ferdinand, his brother Sebastian, and attendant lords. Ariel leads Ferdinand to Prospero’s cell; there the youth falls in love with Miranda, and Prospero sets him to the hardest of menial tasks. The King (Act II) believes that Ferdinand is drowned; Antonio and Sebastian plan to murder Alonso, but thanks to the invisible Ariel, the deed is prevented. Stephano and Trinculo, Alonso’s butler and jester, are involved drunkenly with Caliban.

Aided by Ariel (Act III) Prospero uses his magic art to baffle the royal party. Agreeing to the betrothal of Miranda and Ferdinand, he summons a masque for them (Act IV). Later (Act V) he decides to abandon his revenge, to forgive his enemies, and break his magic staff. Then he reveals himself, demands back his dukedom, shows Ferdinand at chess with Miranda, sets Ariel free, and speaks a wistful epilogue before sailing home.

Shakespeare has obeyed the “unities” here: the action of The Tempest is on a single day and in the same place.

-The Pocket Companion to Shakespeare’s Plays by J C Trewin

Director's Notes

Directed by J. Tony Brown

The first recorded performance of The Tempest (according to the Revels Accounts) was for King James on Hallowmas Night (November 1st), 1611. The only other one recorded during Shakespeare’s life, also at court, was on the occasion of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding to Frederick V of Bohemia. In the Jacobean court, one of the most popular entertainments was the intermezzo masque, elaborately colorful and noisy entertainments which featured song, dance and fantastic costumes. Shakespeare it seems was tapping directly into the zeitgeist of the court with The Tempest. The play not only features a high sort of masque for the betrothal of Ferdinand and Miranda, involving three Roman deities, which is followed by a more carnival-like dance involving naiads and reapers. It also has a kind of “antimasque” with the appearance of the mysterious shapes in a banquet scene which culminates with the dire pronouncements of a harpy.

Indeed, Prospero seems to be directing the progress of the play as a series of mini-masques, with his spirits as the actors (disguised as such characters as hounds) and with Ariel as his star. He uses music, color and spectacle to draw in his erstwhile supplanter, his brother Antonio, and Antonio’s confederate, Alonso, then springs the moral trap, having Ariel (as the harpy) pronounce the decree of Destiny in recompense for their perfidy. In much the same way, he uses fine garments to entice Stephano and Trinculo, who are plotting with Caliban to murder him in a coup d’état, then commands they be “hunted soundly,” and their joints be ground “with dry convulsions.”

At first blush, The Tempest appears to be a revenge play, but with the help of his closest companions, Miranda and Ariel, Prospero abandons the course of retribution in favor of forgiveness, realizing that “the rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance.” Here we see Shakespeare’s art. It is in fact the playwright himself who has drawn us in with his spectacular pageant to affirm this lesson of the power and virtue of forgiveness for each of us. Even the beastly Caliban is moved to vow, “I’ll be wise hereafter and seek for grace.” (Note that his avowal comes after Prospero’s nod to Caliban, affirming, “this thing of darkness, I acknowledge mine.”) In the end, it is Prospero who entreats us to “Let your indulgence set me free.”

It’s my hope that we too have captured a little of the Jacobean/Shakespearean zeitgeist in this production, embracing the music, dance and spectacle that will please you, and like Prospero I beg your indulgence to perfect this vision. It would be churlish indeed if I failed to express my deep gratitude to all the actors, musicians, dancers and technicians who’ve made all this work. Thank you!

By the way, one of the features of the court masque was the participation of the audience in the entertainments. I hope you’ll be swept along with us in our celebration, and if you feel like getting up and dancing along, well….

Show Information


Act One - 60 min / 15 min intermission / Act Two - 60 min (Ending time is approx. 10pm/9pm Sun)

Show Roles

Runs November 5-29, 2015

Prospero – Jeff Watkins
Miranda, Spirit – Amanda Lindsey
Ferdinand, Spirit – Adam King
Ariel – Mary Ruth Ralston
Caliban, Spirit – Ralph del Rosario
Stephano – Troy Willis*
Trinculo – Jenny Lamourt
Gonzalo – Doug Kaye*
Antonio – Paul Hester*
Sebastian – Trey York
Alonso – Clarke Weigle
Master, Francisco, Reaper – Kevin Roost
Spirit, Ensemble – Hayley Platt
Juno, Spirit, Ensemble – Anna Fontaine
Iris, Spirit, Ensemble – Sarah Beth Moseley
Boatswain, Adrian, Reaper, Ensemble – Jacobi Hollingshed
Ceres, Spirit, Ensemble – Kirsten Chervenak

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

Show Times
Shows at The Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse begin at 7:30pm, except on Sundays, when they begin at 6:30pm

Bardometer Rating

How difficult is this Shakespearean play to grasp? On a scale of 1 to 10.
What does rating this mean?

You may already know the story and what happens at the end. But even if you don’t, the play is light and the plot is easy to follow. Limited violence, limited bawdiness (see below). There are very few things – historical, religious, or political – that you need to know ahead of time. Just enjoy!

A note about bawdiness in Shakespeare: It exists. Despite what your English teacher taught you, Shakespeare wrote some pretty saucy lines and they pop up from time to time. While there is never any nudity on stage, our actors are trained to make the text clear. If we feel a show contains a plethora of Graphic Elizabethan Poetry (or is very bloody/violent/triggering) we will put that disclaimer in the blurb about the show. It won’t happen often. If this Bardometer lists a play as a 1 or 2, you can rest assured that it is an appropriate show for kids under ten.

Additional Information

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