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Sierra Classic Theatre presents Shakespeare's "The Tempest"

July 20, 2012

The players of the Sierra Classic Theatre will open s six-day run of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” beginning tonight at Sam’s Woodsite in Mammoth.

It is an audacious, if not tempestuous undertaking, directed by Lesley Bruns and performed under the trees at the venue.

The players ask for a $10 donation for those wishing to attend.

Although the theatre company will offer some chairs, the players ask members of the audience to bring their own chairs if they like, and a picnic.

The play will begin at 6 p.m. each night. In addition to tonight’s production (Friday), the company will present the play on Saturday and Sunday, as well as next weekend, July 27, 28 and 29.

Theatergoers and Shakespeare lovers will be in for a treat.

Shakespeare scholars believe “The Tempest” was Shakespeare’s final play, although three others—“Cardenio,” “Henry VIII,” and “The Two Noble Kinsmen” —were written afterward in collaboration with other playwrights.

As his final production, Shakespeare brings all his time-tested tools to the play, which is set on a remote island. Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place by using illusion and skillful manipulation.

The eponymous tempest brings to the island Prospero's usurping brother Antonio and the complicit Alonso, King of Naples.

There, his machinations bring about the revelation of Antonio's low nature, the redemption of Alonso, and the marriage of Miranda to Alonso's son, Ferdinand.

The story draws the tradition of the romance genre, and it was influenced by tragicomedy and the courtly masque and perhaps by the commedia dell'arte.

It differs from Shakespeare's other plays in its observation of a stricter, more organized neoclassical style. Critics see “The Tempest” as explicitly concerned with its own nature as a play, frequently drawing links between Prospero's "art" and theatrical illusion.

Early critics saw Prospero as a representation of Shakespeare himself, and his renunciation of magic, as signaling Shakespeare's farewell to the stage.

The play portrays Prospero as a rational, not an occultist, magician by providing a contrast to him in Sycorax. Her magic is frequently described as destructive and terrible, where Prospero's is said to be wondrous and beautiful.

All in all, the production has much promise to it.

If nothing else, it would be hard to beat the setting.

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