By William Shakespeare
Adapted by Scott Browning
Presented at The Acre, Orlando FL
“The Tempest” mixes the supernatural with the romantic and remains one of The Bard’s favorite productions. While the original script can run up to three hours this heavily redacted version cuts out the repetition, shrinks the wedding scene and about removes two hours of exposition and obsolete jokes. The remaining motion spreads out in a dark and rainy garden that is mercifully free of mosquitos or other tropical annoyances. Helpful supporting production members drag benches around for the weak to rest upon, and the show experience feel like a gypsy camp on the run. The production also switches the genders of the cast, that’s only significant in the relation between Mirando (Miles Berman) and Ferdinand (Samuel Paul). You might recall that Prospera (Jamie Lyn – Markos) was deposed by Antonio (Jason Skinner) and Alonso (Katrina Tharin); she uses the magic of an old and off-stage witch to shipwreck them on this remote island. The vengeance starts when Ariel (Tina Akers) turns on her invisibility LED’s and starts messing with everyone’s mind. But anger fades to a wedding reception when Mirando falls for Ferdinand. They’re such a cute couple.
Highlights include the Drunkard Scene with Trinculo (BeeJay Aubertin Clinton) hiding under odoriferous local Caliban (Jill Lockard) until they are discovers by drunken Stephano (Brett Carson). He was saved by riding a barrel of wine through the waves, and he thoughtfully brought individual bottles for everyone. Highlighting the Queens Party and the Wedding scene was some acrobatics work from the Fun Dipped Troupe, they juggles and flips and had an acrobat climbing a piece of cloth tied high up in the oak trees. Mr. Berman seemed very excited to fall in love, and Prospera was an imperious figure with her glowing staff.
The Acre is hard to find, there’s no signage and the stated address does not take you to the entrance; that’s actually on a small and hard to notice street called “Ellis Drive”. Look for the fenced in property with lots of string lights, its right across from the brilliant flashing church sign that provided the impression of flashing lightening throughout the show. The parking area is dark as well, a flashlight and sensible hiking shoes are essential. But the result is a piece of raw theater, lit by fire jugglers and the sky glow of Orlando.
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