Shakespeare & Co.
Academy Award winning actress Olympia Dukakis joined Shakespeare & Co. in its version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, in a sold out debut in Lenox. The world awaited this play, and Ms. Dukakis commanded a stunning performance. She shared the stage with other great talent, with their spin on what is now deemed one of Shakespeare’s greatest works.
The Tempest was penned sometime between 1610 and 1611, and was first published in 1623. The world initially did not take great notice of it, but the play clearly made a footprint on the sands of excellence sometime after the Restoration. Filled with metaphor, ranging from thoughts on humanity, to Shakespeare’s own mirror image, this is Shakespeare’s shortest play. It was also his last. It can pass in 90 minutes, or go to three hours. This version was comfortably in between.
A tempest is raised, causing a ship to run aground on a remote island. Prospero uses this fake crash to reclaim his right as Duke of Milan. Of course, “his” is now “hers” as Ms. Dukakis lays claim to this role. The stowaways are a mixed lot, including the beautiful Miranda; Ariel, the nimble, lovely-voiced Ariel, famous for casting her spells; Ferdinand, Miranda’s suitor to be; the monster Caliban, who is quintessentially Shakespearean, and, to name a few more, the ultra happy and slightly intoxicated Stephano and Trinculo.
Of course, on deserted islands, old wounds are healed and new love is found, and the ship is again righted to find its way back toward home. Did Shakespeare find his way back to his senses? Has colonialism been thwarted? Is the secret island Bermuda? Questions linger.
There are numerous, numerous versions of The Tempest. Shakespeare & Co. delivered a superbly genius mix of humor and dialogue. It is well-casted with strong acting, and as subplots erupt, Ms. Dukakis stands like a beacon on the bow keeping cast and crew tightly knit. The singing was wonderful, and I wish there was more of it. The reflection of humanity was simply awesome. It was a generous mixture of Shakespeare, humor, and modern day laughter.
“O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world That has such people in’t!” —V,i
Artistic Director Tony Simotes and Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis team up to re-envision Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Filled with moving, funny and enchanting moments, the underpinnings in this fantastical world, much like our own, are steeped in mystery, darkness and the unknown. Simotes’ fresh and provocative take, set in the 1940s, aligns the magic and mystery of the island with the often tumultuous relationships between family — with a twist — Ms. Dukakis plays Duke Prospero as a woman. Love, forgiveness and irreverence reign supreme in this, Shakespeare’s ultimate statement on humanity.
Featuring Olympia Dukakis with Thomas Brazzle, Greg Boover, Jonathan Croy, Timothy Douglas, Jonathan Epstein, Monica Giordano, Stephanie Hedges, Merritt Janson, David Joseph, Peter Macklin, Casey McShain, James Read, Thomas L. Rindge, Rocco Sisto, Ryan Winkles, Kristin Wold, Jennifer Young