News: Avant Bard to Conjure a ‘Tempest’ for Our Changed Climate

Culminating its 28th season making theatre on the edge, Avant Bard proudly presents Shakespeare’s classic comedy The Tempest at Gunston Arts Center May 31 to July 1, 2018, directed by Artistic and Executive Director Tom Prewitt.

“Shakespeare imagined a world fraught with possibilities, and he filled it with young love and dazzling magic,” says Prewitt. “But Shakespeare’s story also prophesied the melting pot of cultures that America became, a nation of immigrants and refugees seeking asylum and a fresh start. With an eye to the storm our nation is weathering, and in a spirit of hope and optimism, we have tried to conjure a Tempest that asks: ‘How can we all get along on this island Earth?'”

To locate the story, Set, Costume, and Props Designer Greg Stevens has imagined, he says, “a timeless island environment made up of flotsam, jetsam, and other detritus of civilization washed ashore.” In that spirit, much of the set is being built from reclaimed and recycled materials.

The Tempest set rendering by Greg Stevens.

“Costuming is likewise anachronistic,” adds Stevens, “with a slight mid-century aesthetic–and a time-bend toward mid-1980’s pop culture.”

As Prospero, The Tempest will feature Artistic Director Emeritus Christopher Henley, seen last spring as The Fool in Avant Bard’s acclaimed King Lear.

The cast of The Tempest (left to right from top): Frank Britton, Miles Folley, Emily H. Gilson, Cam Magee, Allyson Boate, Christopher Henley, Brian Crane, Justin J. Bell, Alyssa Sanders.

Joining Henley will be Justin J. Bell as Caliban, Allyson Boate as Miranda, Frank Britton as Alonso, Brian Crane as Gonzalo, Miles Folley as Ferdinand, Emily H. Gilson as Ariel, Cam Magee as Antonia/Stephano, and Alyssa Sanders as Sebastia/Trinculo.

Other members of the creative team include Assistant Director and Choreographer Sandra L. Holloway, who staged Avant Bard’s winter remount of The Gospel at Colonus, and Lighting Designer Jos. B. Musumeci, Jr.

“I’m thrilled to be working with an astonishing cast of talented newcomers and Avant Bard favorites,” adds Prewitt. “And we invite both Shakespeare fans and folks new to Shakespeare to enjoy and be moved by our fresh take on what may have been the Bard’s last message in a bottle.”

The Tempest plays May 31 to July 1, 2018, at Gunston Arts Center, Theatre Two,2700 South Lang Street, Arlington, VA. Tickets are available online or by calling 703-418-4808.