THE TEMPEST by Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles and After Hours Theatre Company

Mason Conrad. Photo by Brian Hashimoto.

Martίn Hernández – Stage Raw.

While inundating storms may have receded recently, another one is brewing over at the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles which has partnered with After Hours Theatre Company for a sumptuous “immersive” co-production of William Shakespeare’s tale of revenge, love, and compassion. After boarding the “King’s Ship” on its journey from Tunis to Milan, we are soon engulfed in a raging hurricane on the Tyrrhenian Sea, replete with thunder and lightning. Along with the stalwart crew, we abandon ship and are stranded on a lush tropical isle. If that ride was bumpy, wander around the environs a bit, grab a drink, then sit and revel in the romantic, dramatic, and comic squalls that are blowing our way. The forecast is for enchantment and poignancy thanks to a resilient ensemble under Ben Donenberg’s elegant direction, abetted by the superb work of the design crew. Read more

Katie Buenneke – Theater Digest

I confess, I have only a passing familiarity with the text, but this staging felt quite abridged, and while I understood what was happening in the moment, I lost track of the overall story, or why any character was doing anything. Still, the comedy works quite well in this production, especially KT Vogt as the inebriated butler Stephano and Daniel Parker as the bumbling jester Trinculo. (At the performance I attended, Paul Stanko was on for Prospero’s scheming brother Antonio, and brought plenty of charm and humor to the role.) The play itself is pretty sexist, which I did not love. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

Less pre-show amuse-bouche and more “a spoon full of sugar” to finale, Prospero’s magical island did not lack in entertainments. But as always, everything revolves around him – entirely. Shakespeare’s comedy (and possibly his last) about a major act of betrayal, ill treatment, the development of magic arts and a plot of revenge was made thoroughly delightful, if not always sensical (there’s only so much you can do about a play with no real story plot) by the ensemble cast. Read more…