Hanover College Concludes Theatre Season with Shakespeare’s final play, The Tempest The Hanover College Theatre concludes its 2005-06 mainstage season with Shakespeare’s The Tempest, directed by Paul Hildebrand, with performances March 17, 18, 24, and 25 in Parker Auditorium. There will be a talk-back with the director, designers, performers, and audience following the Opening Night performance on March 17th. Because seating for The Tempest will be in Parker Auditorium’s large format, available seating is guaranteed. All seating is general, and no advance reservations are necessary. Doors will open at 7:30 for the 8:00 p.m. curtain. Theatergoers aged 10 and over will be transported to the misty, shrouded swamps of the Louisiana bayou where Prospero, a voodou wizard, and his daughter Miranda have lain in wait for twelve years. Now that a tempest storm has sunk his enemies’ ship and washed them up upon his doorstep, Prospero has the chance for which he has been preparing -- to meet once again his evil brother and the cohorts who put them there. Written in 1611, The Tempest was Shakespeare's last solo-authored play, and for generations it has remained one of his most popular. Many see in the play Shakespeare’s own touching and poignant farewell to the stage, as at the end the wizard Prospero, having worked his revenge upon the villains who exiled him from his home years before only to forgive them at last, breaks his magic staff, throws his book of spells into the sea, and forswears his theatrical arts forevermore. The play was originally based on the excitement of the New World discoveries by the early colonizers of America, including first-hand reports of a miraculous shipwreck and the ship hands’ survival on a deserted island in the Bermudas. “The heart and soul of this play is in the New World,” says Director Hildebrand, “and that’s what gave us the idea of actually setting this play in America. And what better setting for the story, with its fabric of magical spells, spirits and monsters, than among the Cajuns, where the respectful and potent mysteries of voodou are practiced in ritual and belief to this day.” Yet The Tempest is also a grand comedy. “It’s ‛Gilligan’s Island’ meets ‛Lost,’” says Director Hildebrand. Having escaped from the shipwreck that opens the play, and ridden safely to shore on the back of a barrel of wine, three stooges slosh merrily and drunkenly through the swamps, on a farcical, ill-fated mutiny to rule the Island themselves. Says Hildebrand, “Surely one of the secrets of the play’s enduring popularity throughout the ages is its theme of revenge transformed to forgiveness and redemption. As one of my Shakespeare mentors has said, ‘Shakespeare never wrote a character he didn’t love.’ Prospero’s concluding lines of the play, “As you from crimes would pardoned be, let your indulgence set me free,” is a prayerful hope that we all share through our common humanity.” Page 2 Featured in the role of Prospero is Hanover faculty member and veteran performer, Jack Ramey. Senior student Jenny Thornhill plays his daughter Miranda, and C.J. Karpiak her prince-charming, Ferdinand. The monster, Caliban is portrayed by Ben Paciorkowski, and Shelley Cooper plays the musical, airy spirit of the Island, Ariel. The cast also includes Jenny Knight as Queen Alicia; Aaron Lawrence as her faithful old servant, Gonzalo; Jake Miller and Jacob Cooper as the scheming Antonio and Sebastian; Casey Ross and Amber Van Osdol are the riverboat floozies; while Brandon Cox and Jack Neal are the riverboat gambler, Stephano, and his comic sidekick, Trinculo. The voodou spirits of the Island and Ariel’s helpers are Allie Shearman, Molly Thurman, Molly Herner, and Ben Cassiday. Original music for the production is being written by Hanover College alumnus, Ben Atkinson. The production will feature magical and spectacular illusions to delight audiences young and old. The production is the centerpiece of this year’s college-wide Shakespeare Festival. The Festival is providing a rich context for the production of The Tempest, with events that are all open to the public. The accomplished actress, Jane Ridley, will perform her internationally acclaimed one-woman show, Mrs. Kemble’s Tempest, on Wednesday evening, March 22. Ridley portrays the true-life story of the famously great, 19th-century British Shakespearian actress, Fannie Kemble, on the imagined eve of her own farewell-to-the-stage performance. Other Festival events include a dramatic and moving documentary film, Shakespeare Behind Bars, the year-long story of hard work and accomplishment by a dedicated and creative group of inmates at Luther Luckett Correctional Center in La Grange, Kentucky, who rehearse and present their own, transformative production of The Tempest. For more information on this and all the other arts and cultural events at Hanover College, visit the college website at: <www.hanover.edu/hanovertoday/CACS/>.