SALT LAKE CITY — The Tempest: O Brave New World, by Sarah Re, was a fantastic adaptation of Shakespeare‘s play. Reniassance Now Theatre & Film produced the show, with some beautiful dancing movement throughout, and featuring Marvin Payne as Prospero.
The set consisted of a wall with a screen upstage and one small platform that hid a projector and often doubled as a seat. I loved the videos, prepared by Dave Biesinger and Ian Benhardt, like the waves crashing on the shore and the image of Payne speaking on the screen. Usually I only heard Payne’s voice, which gave him more of an omnipresent and powerful persona, but when he showed up in video I was excited to see his face.
I get very bored with Shakespeare when the acting isn’t backed by powerful emotion. But all the performers had that power, and the show held my attention. I loved the costumes too. Some had flowing, tattered clothing, like Ariel and Caliban, and others had more tailored clothes like the survivors from the new shipwreck. I loved the white lacy dress worn by Miranda.
The love story between Miranda (played by Calee Gardner) and Ferdinand (played by Colt Brown, who looked just like Hugh Jackman), was beautifully enhanced by the acting and focus that they had for each other, as well as them dancing together. There was great blocking for their love story, like when Gardner trips toward Brown and he catches her but falls to the ground at the same time, and they end up laughing before she shyly gets back up.
Caliban (played by Ethan Breinholt), had a hunched posture the whole time and he really got into the anger his character had for Prospero. The ending fulfilled all needs by showing the freedom of Savannah Roberts, who played Ariel, with her dancing joyfully around the stage before exiting. Breinholt came out hunched, but slowly straightened until he was standing tall, staring out past the audience for a beat. That was such a powerful message to see him changing from a complaining, angry person into a powerful man.
Re used music to enhance the mood, and at one moment had the happy couple, Gardner and Brown, dancing together to the soft classical music of “Morning Mood” and then the song would switch to the crazy fast portion “In The Hall of the Mountain King” as Trinculo (played by Daniel Mesta), Stephano (played by Chelsea Frandsen), and Breinholt entered, running away from Robert’s pranks. The music switched back and forth a few times, with one group exiting as the song changed and the other group entered. The effect was hilariously entertaining.
Renaissance Now has created a fantastic version of The Tempest. With a running time of just under an hour, this production was light and graceful without feeling rushed. They will perform this show once more on August 11th at the Castle Amphitheater in Provo.