The play, along with five others, is on the docket for the 52nd summer season and will run through Aug. 31 in the Adams Shakespearean Theatre.
“The Tempest” is what may have been the final play written by the theatrical genius and is part of the USF’s Complete the Canon Project – an effort to produce all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays over the course of 12 years.
Directed by B.J. Jones, “The Tempest” tells the tale of Prospero and his daughter, Miranda, who have been exiled on an island that is filled with magic, fairies and beasts. When a ship carrying those who banished Prospero from Naples is shipwrecked upon the shore, a love story, a humorous tale and a plot for revenge surface.
Scenic Designer Robert Mark Morgan amazingly transforms the Adams Shakespearean Theatre into a jungle paradise, with palm trees, lush green grass, bushes and vines. As the characters move among the forestation, it is as though they truly are on a deserted island.
Prospero is expertly played by Henry Woronicz and as Jones said in an interview on the USF website, Woronicz’s Prospero is “energized, vital, and virile.”
In the years since their exile, Prospero has become skilled in the magical arts and gains control over the fairies, sprites and beasts on the island. The audience is just as awed by Prospero’s magic as the characters in the play as they see him open a book at his command, hypnotize characters into sleep, bend a sword in half and even levitate above the stage.
Prospero oozes with confidence, but his monologues reveal an internal struggle between revenge and forgiveness.
The spirit, Ariel, played by Melinda Parrett, slinks her way through the play, obeying Prospero’s every command and guiding the other characters toward the ultimate ending where Prospero must decide whether he gets his revenge on those who wronged him or he forgives them and moves on with his life.
With a stellar cast and stunning scenery, USF’s production of “The Tempest” takes audiences along for a ride through fantasy into reality and a hopefully happy ending.
Tickets for “The Tempest” are available for purchase at www.bard.org or (800) PLAYTIX (800-752-9849).