What better way to spend a delightful summer evening then by being outdoors and entertained by Connecticut Free Shakepeare’s charming troupe of entertainers in the Bard’s tale of jealousy and revenge “The Tempest.” Held this year the weekend of July 19 to 22 on the grounds of the University of Bridgeport, families gathered with the kiddies and a picnic to enjoy this intriguing tale. The master magician Prospero has been sent in exile, with young daughter Miranda, to a deserted island. The devilish deed was done by brother Antonio (Mark Friedlander), with the help of Alonso (Craig Anthony Bannister) the King of Naples, and his dishonest cohorts and one goodhearted Gonzalo (Alejandro Lopez), all because of jealousy.
Prospero is the rightful Duke of Milan and now, twelve years after the fact, is set to enact vengeance. In this clever adaptation created by Ellen Lieberman, director and artistic director, Prospero is a woman, crafted with authority by Channie Waites, who conjures up a storm, “a tempest,” to catch her tormentors and shipwreck them, thus putting them at her mercy,
A ship carrying Alonso and Antonio and Alonso’s son Ferdinand (Joel Oramas) and brother Sebastian (Ian Eaton) is traveling home from Tunis and Prospero is busy with her spirit friend Ariel, a free floating Uma Incrocci, and the quixotic Caliban, an unhappy Myles Tripp, who obeys herbut has evil in his heart for Prospero. Prospero’s main concern is her daughter Miranda who was only three when this miscarriage of justice took place. Much of theirsuccess in adapting to their exile is thanks to Gonzalo and his initial help of food, water, clothes and a library of books when Prospero and little Miranda were set adrift in a small boat.
Prospero has thrived on the tiny island. With the aide of Ariel, a spirit only she can see, and Caliban, an ungrateful and menacing son of a witch, she has learned to survive. While Ariel serves her, she only desires her freedom, but Caliban resents her presence and wants her permanently gone.Through her incantations, Prospero separates the men on the ship into three groups, so that Alonso and his son Ferdinand each believe the other is dead. Two of Alonso’s servants Stephano (also Ian Eaton) and Trinculo (also Mark Friedlander ) are delightfully drunk and fall in with Caliban to plot a ridiculous defeat of Prospero. The handsome young Ferdinand is immediately smitten with Miranda (Alex Acosta), so quickly that Prospero feels she must place a few obstacles in the path of true love so “too light winning (may) make the prize light.”Meanwhile Antonio and Sebastian have treachery firmly in mind as they plot to murder Alonso and the good-hearted Gonzalo so that Sebastian can become King. A forgiving Prospero, calm after the storm, with the help of the Bard, makes sure everything works out as “all’s well that ends well.” Forgiveness is a current theme ofCFS, one theyhave broughtto schools, groups and even prisons to create discussions and reflections. Donations are always welcome at a CFS production, which are marked by special effects, creative costuming, humor, joy, dancing and singing.
A web of enchantment is being woven that will surely catch you in its mesmerizing spell. Hold tight to the magic!