Friday, May 27, 2011

Introducing...The Tempest Ladies

With so many productions of The Tempest a year, what's special about the production on June 2 (7 and 9 p.m.) at The Players Theatre? Well, it's being performed by six women--Stella Berg, Laura Borgwardt, Julia Giolzetti, Holly Hart, Laura Bess Jernigan, and Jana Stambaugh--who call themselves the Tempest Ladies. Plus, it's only 90 minutes long and $10 a ticket. So, who are the Tempest Ladies?
The Tempest Ladies was formed in 2008 by Syracuse University students studying abroad at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London. "Several of us were cast in an all-female scene from Midsummer Night's Dream at the Globe (probably more a function of not enough boys in our class, but it was a fabulous experience) as our final presentation," says Borgwardt. "We loved the energy of working together and wanted to bring the work we were doing at the Globe back to Syracuse and put what we were learning into practice."

With this bare-bones version of The Tempest, the Tempest Ladies hope to present an accessible show that will appeal to both children and adults. "It's about taking Shakespeare off of the pedestal. People seem to be afraid of Shakespeare because of the heightened language, but the goal of this production and our productions after is to bring Shakespeare down to its most basic level," Hart says. "In the case of The Tempest, it is simply the story of a powerful man who is seeking revenge but instead discovers that 'the rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance.'”

So why The Tempest and not any other Shakespeare play? "The fact that The Tempest is a play made up of mainly male roles was an exciting factor for our all-female cast and was a main reason why we chose this play. But we all have our personal reasons for loving The Tempest," says Berg. "I love that it is a comedy with many layers that go much deeper than a slap-stick, funny show. It contains passion, lust, betrayal, redemption, greed, magic, self-actualization… the list goes on and on. I think it is a beautiful tale and it was Shakespeare’s last masterpiece which adds to its mystery."

After the June 2 presentations of The Tempest, the Tempest Ladies not only hope to continue performing the show around the city and country, but also to perform other Shakespeare plays. They will likely tackle Twelfth Night next. They do not plan to limit themselves to Shakespeare, however, and would like to create an entirely new piece as a company. Berg says, "Ultimately, we want to create innovative, physical and musical ensemble pieces that speak to audiences of any and all ages. We want to make theatre an incredibly enjoyable experience and accessible to the masses."

For $10 tickets to The Tempest, visit their website.

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