We had seen the female-Prospero-male-Ariel version at MSU last year, good prep for seeing this version. This cast, also, mixed up the genders, with women filling some male roles — most notably Sarah Hauck, in her best monster-mode as gallumphing, childlike slave, Caliban. Steve Ledyard led the cast as the benevolent father/magician Prospero, masterminding shipwrecks and other shenanigans with the help of the “airy spirit" Ariel (Chanae Houska - maintaining sprightliness despite some broken toes, I learned later.)
Anne Marie Foley did well as sweet daughter, Miranda, falling in love with “Mr. Right,” Ferdinand, stalwartly played by Mark Polzin. Various others formed two groups of “bad guys” washed up on the island by Prospero’s magic storm, to settle some wrongs of the past - and the message of forgiveness and reconciliation at the end is uplifting.
What set this show apart was a sort of magical other-worldly quality communicated through an unusually wide assortment of costumes, from suit-coats and ties to tie-dye, sequels and neon wigs — along with some wonderful 30’s style music that smoothed the scene changes and made tuneful commentary on the action. Kudos to Helen Hart, costumer and assistant director. Director, and founder of the new company, Mike Stewart, was the source of the music, helpful sound effects and dramatic lighting effects, as well as his overall direction.
Shakespeare lovers (and even a few doubters, like me) should make sure to be at the Hannah Center next weekend, Thursday-Friday-Saturday, September 15, 16, 21, 22, and 23, all at SEVEN PM. No Sunday shows. All tickets are $10.