The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

“The Tempest” creates fantastical world

The Tempest – John Brady
The Tempest - John Brady
Ian Sanderholm ’15, Liam Stowe ’18 and Grace Lloyd ’16 are featured in “The Tempest.” Photo by John Brady.

Gabe Lehman

Grinnell’s upcoming performance of “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare boasts an astounding cast and crew of 41 people—a testament to the grandness of the production.

While putting on “The Tempest” is a major undertaking, the cast and crew is in the hands of an experienced leader. Director Ellen Mease, Theatre, has directed over 40 plays in her 38 years at Grinnell. Moreover, “The Tempest” marks Mease’s seventh Shakespeare play.

Nolan Boggess ’19 plays Alonso in the production and expects the audience will find “The Tempest” more engaging than one might expect for a Shakespeare play.

“I hope people can realize how fun this show actually is and how accessible Shakespeare can be,” Boggess said.

Armed with a 5,500 dollar budget, Mease and her team have transformed the expansive Roberts Theatre stage into the fantastical shipwrecked island of “The Tempest.” This is largely thanks to S. Benjamin Farrar, a theatre professional brought on as the production’s scenic, lighting, projection and properties designer. Farrar has extensive experience in theatrical venues such as the Joyce Theatre in New York City, the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto and the Zellerback Playhouse in Berkeley, Calif. Farrar and Mease collaborated to turn the works of 19th century English painter J.M.W. Turner, an artist who specialized in seascapes, to create the magnificent set.

“[Farrar] created a collage using four or five different Turner paintings in order to give us this vast vista of seas and sky,” Mease said.

Boggess believes the set alone makes this production worth seeing.

“This set is massive, it’s a really gorgeous set with the design and the projections,” Boggess said. “I’ve seen Tempest productions where it’s more minimalist and small and I think the way we take over Roberts Theatre is an advantage.”

Along with Farrar, Michael Croswell is another outside theatre professional brought on to assist with “The Tempest.” Croswell is a composer and sound designer based in Saint Paul, Minn. who had previously worked with Mease in her 2013 production of “Hamlet.”

While the set and sound design are fantastic, Luis Rojas ’18, who plays Trinculo, believes it is the cast that truly brings the show together.

“When it comes to something like ‘The Tempest,’ which has been redone on a variety of occasions for hundreds of years … everyone has done it. I think what is different about ours [is that] it will always be the cast, the actors that make the characters.”

In particular, Rojas praised the work of Scout Slava-Ross ’17 (Miranda), Matt Steege ’17 (Prospero), Ian Saderholm ’15 (Caliban) and Grace Lloyd ’16 (Ariel). Slava-Ross, Steege, Sanderholm and Lloyd are all upperclassmen and main characters, and therefore serve as role models for the rest of the cast.

While Mease has worked on many plays, she could not help but wax poetically about this particular group.

“From my perspective as a director, I couldn’t have hoped for a more harmonious, resilient, patient, dedicated group of students,” Mease said.

Performances are this Friday and Saturday, March 11 and 12, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 13, at 2 p.m. in Roberts Theatre. Tickets are currently available at the box office in Bucksbaum Center for the Arts.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • J

    John Karlsson '64Mar 14, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    On the way home from the 50th reunion in 2014, I took a little detour to Noland, KY, to trace my mother’s Noland family line. Much to my surprise, I found a book at the Irvine, KY, library that traced my family back to (and beyond) John Proctor, who arrived in Jamestown, VA, in 1610. He departed England in 1609, but his ship was wrecked on Bermuda. They managed to build two smaller ships from the wreckage and arrived a little late. “The Tempest” is said to be the story of that ill-fated voyage.