‘The Tempest’ was written by William Shakespeare in 1611 and this comedy / drama was thought to be his last play.
This two-and a quarter hour Sarah Lewis production was presented by Modicum Theatre Perth. The four-show season ran each evening at 7.00 in the Camelot Theatre, 16 Lochee Street in Mosman Park from 15th August until Saturday 17th. There was one Sunday matinée at 2.00 pm.
The Scene: an exotic remote island.
The Set: The stage was extended into the auditorium with a dozen daises of various heights, to form an ‘in the round’ style of theatre. The stage was filled with flotsam of nets, torn sails and various containers. The simple but effective design was by Stephanie Ferguson who also supplied the props.
The inventive lighting designer and lighting operator was Aaron Hamilton. The sound design was by Ari Rahim and operated by Beck Thorman.
Near the end of the play there was an outstanding audio-visual made by Beck Thorman that depicted Iris, Juno and Ceres celebrating Miranda’s wedding.
The production was managed by Stephanie Ferguson and smoothly stage managed by Beck Thorman.
The powerful magician Prospero (Jamie Cook) tells his daughter Miranda (Courtney Maldo) that he should have been the Duke of Milan, not Antonio (Brendan Miskelly). When Prospero hears that the Duke’s father, Alonso King of Naples (William Everett-Knight) is on the high seas with several Lords he orders his magic sprite, Ariel (Rebecca Collin), to create a storm and wreck the ship.
Most of the sailors and lords are washed up on a beach, not aware that on the other side of the island is the savage islander, Caliban (Felix Camponovo) who is also under Prospero’s spell. Another noble, Ferdinand (Sean Wcislo) lands on Caliban’s beach. Knowing that Ferdinand is the Duke of Milan’s brother, Prospero compels Ariel to arrange a meeting of Ferdinand and Miranda. They fall in love. Across the island, King Alonso and his trusted adviser Gonzalo (Aaron O’Neil) assume the regal son Ferdinand has drowned at sea. Now, hoping to become sole heir to the throne, Antonio persuades his Uncle Sebastian (Tiarn Hutton) into killing Alonzo, but Ariel stops the assassination.
Caliban meets Alonso’s jester, Trinculo (Alex McLernon) and his butler Stephano (Bee Tandy) and tries to talk them into killing Prospero, but instead they become very drunk.
What will become of Prospero and Ariel?
Modicum means ‘small but valuable’, which I think is a fair description of this impecunious but hardworking theatre group. With huge courage they take on truly challenging plays, on a minimal budget then give it their all.
The costume design by Felix Camponovo ranged from the delightful gaudy outfit of Trinculo, to Ariel’s marine, finned sea-green trousers in the style of her namesake, the ‘Little Mermaid’. The inventive make-up designer was Jessica Foulstone who gave us the clown face of Trinculo and the numerous well planted lipstick marks of Miranda that brought a smile.
Directed by Leigh Fitzpatrick, the play kept up the pace well and the movement around the extended stage was an extra treat for the audience. There were no weak links in the cast. Prospero gave a fine performance, he spoke clearly and with authority but delivered from the neck and head, when on occasions a deep roar from the chest would have been better.
The jester Trinculo engaged a spectator, then surreptitiously played rock, paper, scissors with an audience member. Good light spot for the play. Ariel and the butler gave a sensitive range of temperaments. Aaron as Gonzalo had perfect and subtle use of his body movement to match his dialogue. A slick well-rehearsed play with clever blend of characterisations by the director.
Well up to Modicum’s usual high quality. A most enjoyable interpretation of a classic.