‘The Tempest’ is making a storm on Berry’s campus

Kendall Aronson, Campus Carrier Asst. Arts and Living Editor

Bailey Albertson | CAMPUS CARRIER

Senior Heather Pharis and Sophomore Tyler Hooper play Ariel the wind spirit and Prince Ferdinand.

The Dukes have been changed to Duchesses and the Kings to Queens in BCTC’s production of “The Tempest,” but it is the wind spirit Ariel played by senior Heather Pharis and the innovative lighting that steal the show.  

Berry’s performance of the Shakespeare classic  is a production well worth seeing. Directed by Anna Filippo, director of theater, and produced by Hannah Hammond, visiting assistant professor of theater, it is a hour-and-a-half adaptation of the nearly three-hour-long original work. 

The play begins with a bang. Lighting expertly showcases the people aboard a ship trapped in the tempest, outlining the characters of Prospera (senior Stephanie Schwartz) and Ariel. The flashing of the ship, as well as the paired music and choreography, allowed the audience to understand what was happening without having much context of the play itself. 

The color choices of the light, designed by Joseph P. Monaghan III, and how it faded gave clarity to how magic was being used. Especially in the opening scene, which relies on the movements of the cast, lighting and sound choices convey a shipwreck effectively.

The music, designed by Ed Thrower, an Atlanta-area musician, also offered great help in trying to decipher the mood and the actions of the characters, and it paired well with the lighting. There were a few points in the show in which the music did jump out at the audience rather than fading through and enhancing the performance. 

The set was designed by Seamus M. Borne, clinical assistant professor of theater. While simple, the set enhanced the lighting effects with use of colors in the its background. While it looked to be a ship’s hull in the beginning, throughout the performance it easily doubled as the home of Prospera and Miranda. The set did not really change at all throughout the piece, but some props were added. However, in the spirit of the Globe Theater where the production would have originally taken place, it is an understandable choice to not have large scene changes. 

Senior Connor Wright’s diction and depiction of Caliban embodied the character well and his acting and chemistry with Stephana (senior Haley Westphal) was remarkable. His costume also fit the character well, making it hard to tell how he was deformed and helping him to stand out among the rest of the cast. 

Heather Pharis’s portrayal of Ariel was exceptional. Her movements and focus throughout the entire piece were amazing to watch. She conveyed emotion effortlessly and commanded the stage. The lights on her costume were also a great choice and helped her to be seen, recognized and to stand out in the dark scenes. Her costume also helped her to stand out from the other spirits, but perhaps a more regal or powerful costume would have suited the character better due to the power and might of the spirit herself. 

Schwartz took on the role of Prospera with elegance. She has a very complex character and she played all sides of it. Her cloak was very in tune with the character, and made a big impact on how her character was perceived. This was very useful as she switched often during the play from being a mother to a wizard and the cloak made this transition easy for the audience to pick up on.  

The noble people were undistinguished in their portrayals of their characters. Alonsa (sophomore Kayla Ronchetto) really did not seem all that upset when she discovered her son was dead. Similarly, she did not seem concerned after she was nearly killed by her ‘friend’ Bastiana (freshman Anna Katherine Drew). They played their characters decently, but added nothing to the overall performance. 

Overall, the performance was very enjoyable to watch. The real stars of the show were the lighting and Heather Pharis. Seeing Shakespeare in this fashion was really educational and I would recommend going to reserve a ticket. It is being performed at the new Blackstone Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults and $7 for seniors. 

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