Review: This TEMPEST REDUX will Blow Your Mind

Tempest Redux

Jack Stehlin (Prospero) with Willem Long and Dash Pepin (Caliban) Photo credit: Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin

Shakespeare knew the power of conjuring a storm that would turn the world upside down when he wrote The Tempest. He filled it with magic, fantastical elements, and resilient characters in an exotic location to create an unforgettable story of love, loss, redemption, and regret. Now, director John Farmanesh-Bocca reinvents Shakespeare’s masterpiece in the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and The New American Theatre’s highly original production starring Jack Stehlin.

Betrayed by his brother and cast away to live out his days alone on an island with his young daughter, Stehlin’s Prospero orchestrates a monumental series of events that will bring his usurper to him in order to set things right. But this is not your typical revenge play and you would do well to reserve judgement about what you think you see until the play has ended.

For in Farmanesh-Bocca’s vision, everything rests on a single new idea. This ultimate “what if” transcends all expectations and is a haunting reminder that if you give over to the story being told, the journey will not disappoint. In fact, I found this production to be so profoundly moving, so exciting and original, that I cannot urge you enough to go see it. If you only make time for one Shakespeare production this year, let it be this one.  More

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Batten Down the Hatches. A TEMPEST REDUX is Coming

Tempest Redux rehearsal. Director John Farmanesh-Bocca looks on as Jack Stehlin flies

Tempest Redux rehearsal. Director John Farmanesh-Bocca looks on as Jack Stehlin flies. Photo credit: Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin

In honor of El Niño, The New American Theatre and Odyssey Theatre Ensmble will present Tempest Redux, a perfect storm of comedy, romance, mystery and magic, beginning February 20. This reconstruction of Shakespeare’s The Tempest stars Jack Stehlin as Prospero and is adapted, directed and choreographed by Not Man Apart–Physical Theatre Company’s John Farmanesh-Bocca. It will explore Shakespeare’s father-daughter story of love and forgiveness with a potent blend of physical theater and verbal gymnastics.

‘Redux’ signifies that we’re re-examining the text from the ground up and visceralizing it with a ton of athletic movement,” says Farmanesh-Bocca. “It’s a meditation on Shakespeare’s work, contemporized for a modern audience, but without losing any of the language or traditions of the original. As radical as the adaptation is, I’m actually a purist.”

A cast of seven actors and three dancers will play multiple roles, while also sharing some of the same parts. They are: Mimi Davila as Miranda and Hunter Paul as Ferdinand; Willem Long and Dash Pepin as a two-headed Caliban (Long also takes on the role of Sebastian and Pepin also plays Francisco); Dennis Gersten doubling as Antonio and Trinculo; and Gildart Jackson as Alonso, Gonzolo and Stephano. The role of Ariel is shared by three dancers: Mecca Vazie Andrews, Lilian Manansala and Emily Yetter.

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Shakespeare Spotlight: What to See in 2014

SIt’s Shakespeare for the masses in 2014 as we celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth! In Southern California you’ll find more productions and events than ever so mark your calendar now for a big year ahead.

L.A. Theatre Works kicks off its 2014 radio theatre series with The Comedy of Errors starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Hamish Linklater, and Emily Bergl. Ferguson and Linklater delighted audiences last summer as Shakespeare’s Antipholus and Dromio twins in The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production in New York. See the hilarity in person January 30 – February 2 when The Comedy of Errors is performed and recorded at UCLA’s James Bridges Theater for broadcast on public radio nationwide. http://latw.org

The Porters of Hellsgate begin their eighth season with Henry V, previewing on Valentine’s Day at The Whitmore in North Hollywood. Artistic director, Charles Pasternak, will direct and play the title role, one he received rave reviews for last summer at Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Leon Russom also returns to The Porters following up his role as Gloucester in King Lear with one of Shakespeare’s most famous narrators of all. I can hear “O for a Muse of fire…” now. www.portersofhellsgate.com  More

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