The Tempest closes out the semester with magic

Shakespeare play makes first UW Oshkosh theatre appearance

The UW Oshkosh theatre department will be performing it’s final production of the semester, “The Tempest,” this weekend from April 26 to April 29.

“The Tempest” is a Shakespearean play about the former Duke of Milan, Prospero, who has been exiled on an island for twelve years with his daughter, Miranda, his servants, the spirit Ariel and Caliban.

The play starts out with him finally having the chance for revenge when King Alonso, his son, Ferdinand and Duke Antonio crash on this island.

Ferdinand falls in love with Miranda and Prospero tests his true intentions while battling villains to regain his rightful status.

Director Merlaine Angwall said they chose this play because they enjoy Shakespeare’s plays and it felt like the right one to choose.

“We like to do Shakespeare when we can and ‘The Tempest’ was one of the Shakespearean plays we considered,” Angwall said. “We settled on it because we thought we had the right people for the play and it was one that hasn’t been done here at UW Oshkosh ever.”

Angwall said although they kept close to the original play, they decided to change some of the details around to give it their own flair.

“We have some characters that were male that are female and we likewise did the opposite,” Angwall said. “We set it in the 1820s, and we kind of thought it as an island somewhere in the Americas, in North America, maybe Nova Scotia.”

UWO junior Kaitlyn Polka plays the character Trinculo, who is typically male but was gender-bent for this play.

Polka said her favorite part about playing Trinculo is the direction Angwall decided to take with having the character play a more confident role.

“I like how the director has made Trinculo a little bit more self-sufficient and strong as a character,” Polka said. “She just follows Stephano around and it’s hard to explain the whole plot of the play, but she can hold her own ground.”

Angwall said her favorite character is Prospero because she likes how Shakespeare wrote the play to reflect a lot about the character.

“He makes a decision that is kind of surprising, and I think Shakespeare does that on purpose,” Angwall said. “It was one of the last plays that Shakespeare ever wrote, and I thought Shakespeare is being very reflective in it.”

Angwall said people should see “The Tempest” because people typically enjoy seeing Shakespearean plays being performed.

“I know a lot of people don’t like to read Shakespeare, but I think everyone loves to see Shakespeare,” Angwall said. “And there’s a difference between reading and seeing it because Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be performed and not read.”

UWO junior Parker Sweeney, who plays Prospero, said his favorite part of playing Prospero is his strong character.

“The power he has, both in the fact that he deals with magic as well as his dialogue, makes Prospero super fun and powerful to play,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney said his favorite scene is the first one he has with Garret Johnson, who plays the character Caliban.

“Garret Johnson has been a longtime friend of mine dating back to when we acted together in high school, and scenes with him are always fun,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney said people should come see this play because it is entertaining and the people involved worked hard to make sure it is entertaining.

“It’s going to be magnificent,” Sweeney said. “We have such a hard-working cast and crew that will make this show truly magical.”

Johnson said his favorite part of his role is the physicality of his character.

“I have never moved in such a way that I have in this production,” Johnson said. “It brings to mind an animal and not a human being.”

Johnson said he enjoys the scene when he starts to work with Trinculo, the comic relief of the play, because of what comes out of it.

“My favorite scene is when I start working with the comedic relief of the play,” Johnson said. “Not only is it fun for the audience but also fun for me.”

Johnson said people should see this play because it is extremely unique in comparison to other shows that the department has put on in the past.

“It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before,” Johnson said. “You’ll be transported to a world filled with magic and mystical spirits and creatures.”

Polka said people should come see this play because it is fun, but there are some lessons that can be taken away.

“It’s about magic and plotting and wild adventure, but there’s also a lot to be learned from watching and analyzing the show, if you were to do that,” Polka said. “I would just come see it because there’s a lot to be learned from the show and everyone in it is phenomenal.”