An Ironic Tempest
By Margaret Cravens '23
On October 16, a storm blew in to Severn School. But as students ran through the rain, heads bowed in a pathetic attempt to stay dry, something even bigger was happening: the school was preparing to put on a production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, to be performed in the amphitheater. And here is why the rain was such a problem: the whole newly-constructed back wall of the stage was made out of strips of fabric and hundreds of painstakingly placed sheets of paper. The previous rainstorm had brought down about a third of this on the eve of the performance. This, combined with the high winds of Thursday, post-poned opening night until Friday. A tempest got in the way of a production of The Tempest.
But “the show must go on,” and so on it went. In the cold October weather, the performance was as good as it would have been one night earlier. The stage and the pools remained intact, aside from some chipped paint, and the framework on the back wall was untouched.
Out of all of the interpretations and showings of The Tempest, this one was unique, with two ponds and a stage painted to look like a zodiac calendar. The actors worked ceaselessly to put on an unforgettable show, starring Michael Hesford as Prospero and Madison Wright as Ariel, with a dozen other interesting characters, such as Caliban (Jake Leroux) and Antonio (Emma Miller). The show opened Friday, October 18, and ran through Sunday. If you were fortunate enough to attend, you were swept away in the storm of energy emanating from the wind and rain-weathered stage. If you sat in the front row near the pools, you probably felt some of that tempest directly:the first scene involved people falling into icy pools of water. Hopefully you felt as if you were really there on the island, watching a five-hundred-year-old tale be told in a new and fresh way.