The Shakespeare Guild, Shakespeare in Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Botanical Garden are joining forces to present “The Tempest” in the Santa Fe Botanical Garden’s recently opened Ojos y Manos Garden amphitheater.
“The Botanical Garden envisioned Shakespearean productions taking place in this wonderful amphitheater when they built it,” explains Rachel Kelly, artistic director of Shakespeare of Santa Fe. “They reached out to me and John Andrews (founder of The Shakespeare Guild) about doing a production.”
“The Tempest” by William Shakespeare is presented from August 23 through 27 and from August 29 through 31 and directed by Nagle Jackson, a nationally-known director who had worked with Shakespeare in Santa Fe from 1997-2002.
The play is set on a remote island where the sorcerer Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place. He conjures up a storm to cause his brother Antonio and the King Alonso of Naples to believe they are shipwrecked and marooned on the island. Once there, Antonio’s lowly nature is revealed, the King is redeemed, and Miranda is married to Alonso’s son, Ferdinand.
“This play, one of Shakespeare’s last, is often referred to as a “romance” or a “fantasy,” but it has endured in many guises and remains one of the author’s most popular and influential creations,” says Jackson.
“To me it is best viewed as a political and family comedy, with “comedy” to be understood in its most formal definition as a work in which everyone is still alive at the end. There are indeed dark elements-attempted murders, sorcery, bitter revenge plots-but through the participation of nature on this remote island and the flowering of genuine love between two beautiful young people, the darkness lightens and the bitterness sweetens.”
Jackson has assembled a stellar cast of actors, many of whom have considerable experience on Broadway, in film and on television, including Victor Talmadge (Prospero), Jennifer Graves (Lady Gonzala), Kent Kirkpatrick (Trinculo) and Quinn Mander (Caliban).
This is the third production of “The Tempest” for Jackson, who has set the play in indoor and outdoor settings. “I helped design the platform we’re performing on,” he adds. “This space has tremendous environmental advantages, such as being able to have actors enter and exit through the audience. There are challenges, too, especially with audio effects and voices.”
Gates open at 6 p.m. Picnicking is allowed during the pre-show, which features live music.