The Tempest Closes ISC’s Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival


Independent Shakespeare Co. follows its dynamic rock ‘n roll production of Richard III in Griffith Park with Shakespeare’s The Tempest, beginning July 30. Thom Rivera will star as Prospero and the show is directed by Matthew Earnest, former assistant director to Adrian Hall and to Lee Breuer at Mabou Mines

Magic, first love, and the forces of revenge intersect on a mysterious island in The Tempest. Prospero has spent 12 years on an island in exile with his daughter, Miranda, all the while plotting to punish his duplicitous brother using sorcery. But when the opportunity presents itself, he learns that magic doesn’t make the man, the world is stranger than it appears, and that perhaps the past is only history.

This is the first time internationally recognized Matthew Earnest will join ISC as a director. Earnest is celebrated for his stylish, innovative approach to re-imagining classic works. He says, “Prospero is the creator of what is essentially a large-scale immersive theater event. Our anachronistic approach to the design renders Time meaningless in the story of a family split apart and trying to reconcile, except, of course, for the painful fact that years lost from ‘our little life’ can never be regained. Our production’s sculpted, choreographic style centers the landscape of the play on the human body, its miracles and its limitations, and it places the evening’s conversation squarely where it belongs, on the ‘bare, forked thing itself’ – mankind, in his unavoidable, immediate present.”

ISC Managing Director David Melville adds, “The Tempest is Shakespeare’s final play; he was very conscious of his own approaching mortality and his retirement from the stage. The Globe was his little island where he led the narrative and created all these fantastic characters, so when Prospero breaks his staff, it’s akin to Shakespeare putting away his quill. The play is a great choice for the festival because, alongside A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare explores the realm of magic and spirits. It’s a family-friendly play with many fantastical elements, great clowns and a wonderful romantic story. Shakespeare explores the idea of family (he often used the relationship of a father and daughter) and he reaches an apotheosis where the father and daughter are stranded on a desert island. Ultimately it’s a play about forgiveness, one of the most powerful things to experience in life and on stage. It’s a moving story that’s very uplifting.”

In addition to Thom Rivera in the role of Prospero, the cast includes Joseph Culliton (Alonso), William Elsman (Sebastian), Lorenzo González (Trinculo), Faqir Hassan (Antonio), Rudy Márquez (Boatswain), David Melville (Stephano), Sean Pritchett (Caliban), Lester Purry (Gonazlo), Evan Lewis Smith (Ferdinand), Erika Soto (Miranda), and Kalean Ung (Ariel), with Patrick Batiste, April Fritz, Jack Lancaster, Tatiana Louder, Nathan Nonhoff, and Stephany Pesta as Sailors, Passengers & Spirits.

Season production design is by Caitlin Lainoff. Season lighting design is by Bosco Flanagan. Costume design is by William Bezek. Composer and sound design is by Chris Porter.

A pre-show Salon Series discussion led by the director will take place on Sunday, July 31 at 6pm.

July 30 – September 4, 2016
Independent Shakespeare Co.
Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival
Old Zoo, Griffith Park (near 4730 Crystal Spring Dr.)
Performance schedule: Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat & Sun at 7pm
More info: or call 818-710-6306


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: The Tempest Closes ISC’s Griffith Park Free Shakespeare Festival | The Shakespeare Standard
  2. Frank Lopes
    Jul 28, 2016 @ 02:11:31

    This is such an exceptional company…in so many ways. Year after year, with smoke and mirrors, they present world class Shakespeare for free. All for the residents of, and visitors to, Southern California. Don’t miss this production…



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