The Tempest is the North Star of Shakespeare plays. Now, Present Company Theatre presents the North Star of Austin actors, crew and script.
Whether Prospero or Caliban is your favorite character, this Shakespeare is spiced with Austin flair. It’s the latest project from the nonprofit drama company started in 2010 by Stephanie Carll and Lindsey Doleshal, being performed at Rain Lily Farm in East Austin through November 1, 2014.
Here are 14 reasons why you should see Shakespeare on the Farm within the next 14 days:
If you’re scared of Shakespeare or have no familiarity with the bard, no fear. This production will engage you. The actors present a short, comedic primer of Shakespeare before the play starts. Austin Terrell’s improv of Shakespeare language with subjects chosen by the audience is astounding and hilarious.
#2 Rain Lily Farm
This working farm with olive trees, pecan trees, chickens and ducks is in East Austin. The outdoor theater is cozy, fun and friendly.
#3 Adjustments to Bumps in the Road
Every production has glitches and crises. The solutions that Present Company’s actors come up with on the fly are clever and entertaining. For example, Prospero, played by Omid Ghorashi, one of Austin’s finest actors, lost what was a commanding sonorous voice as the play progressed.
Solution: He conjured a voice spirit, played by Joseph Garlock, who delivered the lines as Prospero continued to command the attention of the audience. What would have been a disaster for other companies became an entertaining and endearing winner for the spectators.
Liza Feldcamp’s costumes do not distract, but propel the story. She also created a masterful costume from scratch in less than 10 minutes to clothe the conjured voice spirit for Prospero.
#5 The Set
Ia Enstera, who has won numerous awards for some 90-odd past productions, has designed a set worth seeing by itself. It doubles as the ship and the island, and is made of repurposed, recycled materials much like the flotsam and jetsam that would’ve washed up on Prospero’s Island.
#6 Sergio Alvarado’s Caliban
Physical, dark, powerful. For this Caliban alone, The Tempest is worth a special trip.
Played powerfully by Hannah Burkhauser, Ariel sings and drives the storm and mariners and players. She makes you believe she is a spirit.
#8 Emily Rankin as Ferdinand
She plays the male. She’s good. She’s more than good.
#9 Cassadie Peterson as Miranda
She brings both a comic and touching performance.
#10 Trinculo and Stephano
Eva McQuade and Austin Terrell play the queen’s jester and drunken butler with skill and ease as though they’ve worked together for years. Terrell’s pompous, inebriated self-importance and McQuade’s bizarre, weird take on the jester goes to the next level.
#11 Sebastian and Antonio
Jeff Britt as the greedy Antonio and Dan Dalbout as the scheming Sebastian are a duo both comic and serious. Their timing and delivery are a pleasure to watch.
#12 Jen Coy as Alonsa
Instead of Alonso the King, Coy plays Alonsa the Queen. Her voice rings with authority as though born into royalty. Yet she makes you mourn for her drowned son.
#13 Se Habla Espanol
Spanish speakers can follow Lauren Waelder’s original translation, available at the greet table. Spanish phrases are heard throughout the play. Sergio’s Caliban makes the Spanish flow effortlessly with Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter like a shot of tequila.
#14 Lighting, Sound and Music
The storm that opens the play is great. The sound is sharp. An original score for the play was composed by Present Company “Sound Guru” Jason Farmer. Christina Barboza does the lights (no small feat for a theater created from nothing on a farm). In addition, neighborhood noises appeared to work into the play as though planned—such as a train whistle while the Spirits are driving mariners from one part of the island to another.
Present Company Theatre will continue this year’s addition of Shakespeare on the Farm with The Tempest on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings through November 1st. Admission is free. The suggested donation is $10 to $20 (a steal), but no one will question you if you show up without your wallet or have a thin week.
Seating and music begins nightly at 6:30 PM. Bring chairs or blankets (there is a chair line). Bring a picnic or buy a snack and a donation-based cocktail. Parking is on the street.
The company will offer a free kids’ workshop on Saturday, October 25th before the show. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
For more information on the show, visit Present Company’s website.
Have you ever been to a Shakespeare on the Farm performance from Present Company Theatre?