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Movement p. 15

“The Tempest” A human, yet magical story

By Patricia Morris Buckley SDUN Theater Critic

Last summer, “King Lear,” at the Old Globe, held a moment so completely magical and breath- taking it is most likely seared into the memory of anyone who saw it: Lear and his fool wandered in a snowstorm, complete with blind- ing flurries, pounding winds and lightning flashes. Unfortunately, the rest of the show didn’t quite live up to that spectacular image, but luckily the same can’t be said of the Old Globe’s “The Tempest,” an excel- lent, magical production, chock full of such stunningly emotive visuals. Interestingly, it’s actor Miles

Anderson’s choice to ground his character in reality that makes these magical moments so captivating. Anderson, who gave us one of the best performances in years as the title character in the Globe’s “The Madness of King George,” is Prospero, the outcast Duke of Milan, who has been trapped on a Mediterranean island with his young daughter. Soon after arriving he discovers Ariel, a powerful spirit imprisoned in a tree and releases him to be his magical servant. Prospero commands Ariel to

shipwreck the king of Naples and his court, including Prospero’s back-stabbing brother, Antonio. Together, Ariel and Prospero right old wrongs and create a stronger future for most everyone. Many productions portray

Prospero as a powerful, majestic magician, but Anderson chooses to play him as a wise man whose book learning gives him enough knowledge to harness the island’s magic and bend it to his will. He displays a vulnerability that makes his anger at his brother’s betrayal and dismay over his circumstances easy to understand and deepens our compassion for the character instead of making Prospero into a Dumbledore of theater. Our heightened engagement makes the magical elements seem all the more mystical with Prospero shar- ing mere mortal reality. Director Adrian Noble (who

also created that amazing mo- ment in “King Lear”) used many theatrical techniques to enhance the island’s mystery. Ariel, for instance, wears his blue- tinged hair straight up and is draped in a genie-like skirt. Sometimes he’s also on stilts, while at others he appears with awe-inspiring wings (backlit with red light so his outline appears to be on fire). Ethereal puppets create entertainment for two characters, and a huge blue cloth serves as a ship’s mask, the waves of an ocean, the bed linens for sleeping royalty and other eye-pleasing images. Impressive lighting by Alan Burrett, who uses light to paint the stage, further heightens these special effects. Another star of the production is the original music by Shaun Davey, which is both other- worldly and hummable. His tunes go far in adding more texture

“The Tempest” When: Through Sun., Sept 25 Where: Old Globe Theatre, Balboa Park Tickets: Begin at $29 Info: (619) 23-GLOBE Web:

and feeling to the production. Deidre Clancy’s costumes are mostly plain, but not simple, with interesting cuts and fits. Since one’s eye is not distracted by gaudy fashions, the vivid images are even more arresting. Anderson’s Prospero is heart-

breaking, while Ben Diskant’s performance as Ariel is truly gossamer. There’s a beautiful mo- ment they share that shows how much they really care for each other. Jonno Roberts’ monster Caliban is delightfully ruthless and evil, and Kevin Alan Daniels and Winslow Corbett make such enthusiastic and cute lovers that it’s exciting to see they will once


Director Jeff Lipsky’s “Twelve

Thirty” p. 17

Volume 3, Issue 13 • June 24–July 7, 2011 • San Diego Uptown News

Ben Diskant as Ariel in “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare, directed by Adrian Noble, at The Old Globe June 5– Sept. 25, 2011. (Photo by Henry DiRocco)

again play opposite each other in “Much Ado About Nothing.” Adrian Noble has mounted a

production of “The Tempest” that is a feast for all the senses as well as a human story with magical

elements. It’s the perfect kick- off for the Old Globe’s summer season.u

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