Under the guidance of Mrs. Panzica and Ms. Hamm, our theater department is really taking off this year. The fall play, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, is one of my favorites, and I stopped by rehearsals after school today to take a look at the opening scene in its very early stages. It’s a really impressive scene–a shipwreck created by the fairy Ariel, who is a magical servant to Prospero, the governor of a mysterious island where he lives with only his daughter, Miranda and a strange creature, half man and half fish, named Caliban. The shipwreck brings to the island the first humans that Prospero and Miranda have seen in years. There is Ferdinand the young prince, Antonio the king who deprived Prospero of his throne, and a host of other characters whose presence changes Prospero, Miranda, and their life on the island forever. The play, one of Shakespeare’s last, is fascinating to scholars because Prospero is in some ways a representation of Shakespeare himself. Some of Prospero’s monologues are thought to show Shakespeare speaking in his own words about his career as a playwright and a thinker.
It is a play that most high schools shy away from because it’s very difficult to cast with actors who aren’t adults. There is so much variety required from the performers, and particularly from the fatherly wizard Prospero, the beast-like Caliban, and the powerful and spirited fairy Ariel, all strange and otherworldly characters. But after thinking about our current high school students and the talented actors among them Mrs. Panzica thought that we could pull it off. I think she was right.
Even at the early stages of rehearsal, I was so impressed at the students’ thoughtful interpretations of the text and of course, by the Class of 2018’s senior gift, a movable set that can be turned into almost anything you can imagine, including a ship! Here’s the opening shipwreck scene being rehearsed in its early stages this afternoon.
Shakespeare’s The Tempest
All members of the Founders community, and the public too, are invited to the on campus performances of The Tempest later this fall. Mark your calendars!
Founders Classical Academy of Leander
1303 Leander Drive
Leander, TX 78641