Magazine article American Theatre

The Tempest Hartford Stage

Magazine article American Theatre

The Tempest Hartford Stage

Article excerpt

Darko Tresnjak, DIRECTION: The title of The Tempest could refer to the text itself--which is lively, torrential, convulsive and wildly contradictory from moment to moment. So the idea of making Shakespeare's words dance in space--by covering the set and the performers' costumes with them (above--made sense. As the audience came in, there was a woman, played by Jane Cracovaner, asleep on the stage with tons of fabric billowing around her. When the show began, she walked downstage on a turntable and the other actors manipulated the dress, turning it into a ship (opposite page). Above her is an aerialist who played the sailor caught in the wind. I saw Martha Graham's Lamentation when I was just 18 years old, and the woman in that piece wore a stretch jersey dress. That was when I came up with the idea of the woman's dress becoming a boat, and it only took me 28 years to put it on stage!

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Alexander Dodge, SET DESIGN: The Tempest was performed on a single set with a few pieces that flew in and out of a big oval upstage. The text on the set and costumes is basically a sampling of lines from the first three pages of the play. We used a hand script, so every capital letter P didn't look like every other capital letter P. The tablecloth (for the banquet table that you can't see here), larger scenery fabric and the set itself were painted by hand. It wasn't quite as torturous as it might seem. I had a stencil, and was lucky to have very good set painters at Hartford Stage.

Fabio Toblini, COSTUME DESIGN: Darko's concept was to have the set and costumes on the island match like camouflage using Shakespeare's text. …

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