The Tempest review

The TempestThis innovative production directed by Berkeley Rep’s Tony Taccone is presented with a nearly bare stage and backdrop. Four dancers in Japanese Dance of Darkness (Ankoku-Butoh) movements lead us through the story, at times carrying a dazzling Kate Hurster as Ariel off and on stage or serving as a table or other stage props. Here we behold a Prospero (returning OSF vet Denis Arendt) driven by vengeance, tortured by the betrayal of his brother. His furious need for revenge cooks Prospero’s inner cauldron to boiling, conjuring up one spell after another for the magical Ariel to implement. Literally spellbound, Prospero finds himself moving away from vengeance toward forgiveness. Daniel Jose Molina as Ferdinand and Alejandra Escalante as Miranda return to the stage, even more credible and loving a couple than they were in Romeo and Juliet of several years ago. A dastardly Caliban (Wayne T. Carr) plots with the hilarious trio of Stephano (Richard Elmore), Trinculo (Barzin Akhavan) and Gonzalo (Bruce A. Young) to take control of the island. From a slow beginning as Prospero tells the story of their arrival on the island to his daughter Miranda, the action picks up and carries us along to a somber end. One is left to wonder if the real storm may have been within Prospero, spilled out for the rest of us to behold.

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