Seton Hill University’s Performing Arts Center hosted the performance of one of the last works written by William Shakespeare. “The Tempest,” which closed on Nov. 19, tells the story of Prospero, a magician and ex-Duke of Milan, who lives on an island with his daughter, a friendly spirit and a native rogue. Chaos, love and hilarity ensue after the spirit named Ariel brews a storm that brings the King of Naples’ ship to the island.
The play is full of magic and mayhem, of laughter and tears. The most prominent theme the cast wanted to convey was that of forgiveness.
Senior theatre major Sarah Laughland played the role of the magician, Prospero, whose character is rumored to be Shakespeare himself. “[Through the role of Prospero] I realized that forgiveness is harder than revenge…It’s something that comes with getting older and wiser,” said Laughland.
Sophomore dance major, Hannah Lamberto, who played the role of the spirit Ariel, said,“For me, it’s the reminder that no matter how hard someone hurt or broke you the act of forgiveness will lighten your load making more room for love.”
A challenge to convey the message of forgiveness came by the way of dictating the words. Though many of the words used then are the same as the words used today, they are often structured in a way that is unfamiliar to the modern tongue.
“Memorizing [the script] was very hard,” said Laughland. “We wanted the audience to know what we were talking about. Our goal was to have the audience know what we meant.”
The cast spent about the first three weeks of rehearsals going over the script, essentially translating Shakespearean to modern English then translating it back.
“We spent weeks with the Shakespeare Lexicon understanding the language, and even after table work we were always trying different ideas on and to make the language clearer for the audience,” said Lamberto.
Junior Andy Meholick, whose role was that of Ferdinand, said, “It was great and it helped the rest of the process [of memorization] because the audience had to know what we’re talking about. Shakespeare knows humanity so well that you can see the words on the page and believe someone would feel that way even after centuries.”
Meholick thought that his character Ferdinand, Prince of Naples, was beneficial to the audience’s understanding of the language. “As Ferdinand, I really liked trying to help the audience forget about the language and focus them on the characters.”
Lamberto, who played Ariel, said of her character, “[She] was a bold, wild, yet sensitive spirit that longed for a love that she couldn’t have, but will always stand by the ones she cherished most.”
Layne Bailey, a freshman and musical theatre major, played the part of Miranda, the love interest of Ferdinand. “I loved my character. She is sweet and innocent yet sassy and independent. She is capable of feeling for people she has never met and standing up for herself in front of her father and when it comes to matters of the heart.”
The special effects, which ranged from fog to sounds of the ocean breaking against the sand as well as the rocky stage made the play come to life. The effort put forth was not missed; it was very well done, a production of which Shakespeare himself would have been proud.