ISU Theatre stages 'The Tempest' in season finale

ISU Theatre closes its 2016-17 season with a one-weekend run of William Shakespeare's magical and mystical romance, "The Tempest." Performances are April 20, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m., and April 23 at 2 p.m., in Fisher Theater.   

The play opens with Prospero (Jane Cox, professor of music and theatre) and his daughter, Miranda (sophomore Ashley Diaz) on an island, watching a ship struggling to stay afloat in the midst of a storm purposely created by Prospero's magic. He reveals to his daughter that the ship harbors those who betrayed him and stole his title -- Duke of Milan -- 12 years earlier. Prospero explains that at the same time, he and she were set adrift on a raft in the sea, eventually landing on the island where they now reside.

Tales of romance, betrayal, sibling hatred and the love of a father for his child prevail throughout the rest of the play. And as is typical for Shakespearean romances and comedies, all is well that ends well.

ISU Theatre's portrayal of "The Tempest" is true to Shakespeare's original 1611 play, with a few cuts here and there.

"We're fundamentally trying to answer the question of what Shakespeare has to say to us today -- how the language and characters and themes remain relevant and potent," said assistant professor and production director Amanda Petefish-Schrag. "We've tried to retain the vast majority of what we think Shakespeare intended."

The large cast includes two faculty members, Cox as Prospero, and Kelly Schafer, lecturer in music and theatre, as Antonio. Petefish-Schrag said having faculty members perform with students greatly benefits students.

"Providing opportunities for students to work alongside faculty members in an acting company is a practice many universities incorporate on occasion, as it gives students a chance to work with professional, experienced actors, who also happen to teach them in the classroom," Petefish-Schrag said. "It's a tremendous opportunity to learn and grow from those interactions in a practical setting -- the theater equivalent of the laboratory."

Tickets, $18 for adults ($11 for students), are available at the Stephens ticket office, through Ticketmaster or in Fisher Theater prior to the performances.