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Directed by Benjamin Henson, and starring Lisa Harrow alongside some of Auckland's hottest performers, AUSA Outdoor Summer Shakespeare present an exhilarating take on Shakespeare's The Tempest at the Pop-up Globe Theatre.

Pop-up Globe Theatre, Auckland

From the Promo:

Directed by award-winning Auckland director Benjamin Henson, and starring internationally acclaimed actress Lisa Harrow as Prospero, AUSA Outdoor Summer Shakespeare present an exhilarating take on Shakespeare's The Tempest at the Pop-up Globe Theatre.  Shakespeare buffs Henson and Harrow will be working alongside a large cast of some of Auckland's hottest performers and creative crew to produce a modern and innovative Summer Shakespeare for all.

Shakespeare's last solo work for the stage sees the magician Prospero bring his enemies to his enchanted island, where love and magic intertwine in search of lasting reconciliation.  Henson will once again intrigue audiences with an industrial flotsam and jetsam set design, contemporary soundtrack and gender neutral casting - highlighting the story and the energy each actor brings to their role.  With a cast of 24 mixing established and emerging actors, this show is sure to be bursting with fervour, wild with style.

Auckland born Lisa Harrow is a former Royal Shakespeare Company Member, having been invited to join in 1969 after studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.  Major career highlights include winning the Australian Film Institute's Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for The Last Days of Chez Nous (1992), starring alongside Judi Dench in stage play Twelfth Night and Sam Neil in the film The Omen III, and being appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2015.  She was invited to direct the 50th anniversary Summer Shakespeare production of King Lear in 2013 and will take to the stage once more in 2016 as Prospero the magician and exiled ruler of Milan.

Performed by a full cast and live musicians, this production marks a new departure in AUSA Outdoor Summer Shakespeare's 50+ year history.  The Summer Shakespeare will leave its regular location under the clock tower at the University of Auckland to join the Pop-up Globe for the 2016 season - providing a sensational opportunity for actors and audiences to experience a version of Shakespeare's home theatre.

 

Director's Note

"And these, mine enemies, are all knit up, in their distractions: they are now in my power."

And what a power.  Prospero, a man betrayed by those closest to him, cast away without regard as swiftly as a chess pawn swiped from the table, demonstrates the fury of this power before we even know his name; throwing us within a pageant of a tempestuous storm.

But this fantastical story of Prospero, his daughter Miranda, and the magical island they posses - for all its spectacle, masquerade, sorcery and spirits - is a complex study of something very real: what it means to be human.

Here on this mysterious isle "full of noises, sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not," a bevy of survivors, a cross section of rant and status, are plucked free of societal restraint and given an arena within which to face their true selves.  How telling and how true then, that man's ugliest traits take but moments to show themselves - plots of murder, possession of land, servitude and elevated status - all entangled within a strife for revenge.

It is the otherwordly that Shakespeare uses to hold up the mirror to ourselves - Prospero's potent art, aided by Ariel and the island's spirits - that debunk the darkest of human nature and allow love and reunion to prevail.  It is Ariel - a spectre of the elements - that brings to light Prospero's most valuable realisation: "The rarer action is in virtue than in vengeance."

Thanks go to the hardy cast who have embraced this magical world with intelligence, heart and a deep respect for Shakespeare's words.  Our vision of the isle is littered with spirits and "urchin shows" throughout to bring to life Prospero's potent art.  The opportunity to welcome Lisa Harrow, who's inspiring career includes many years with the RSC, has created a huge sense of learning for all.  The production team and Auckland University staff - especially Tom Bishop who has been teaching The Tempest since before I was born (sorry Tom) - has made this unique chance to bring our production to the Pop-up Globe a joyous reality.

~ Benjamin Henson ~

 

From the Chair

We are thrilled to be able to bring this production to you in association with the Pop-up Globe, enabling us to present one of Shakespeare's greatest works in surroundings that emulate the theatrical conditions of his day.

Under Mr Benjamin Henson's direction, The Tempest is a lively and emotional take on the story of Prospero and his daughter Miranda, marooned on an island full of noises and sweet airs, spirits and monsters, who must deal with the survivors of a shipwreck brought to the island in a storm conjured by Prospero himself, for reasons to be revealed.  It is a tale of revenge, mercy, and love, containing both some of the funniest and some of the most moving scenes Shakespeare ever wrote.

This is a wonderful play realised for us by director Benjamn Henson and his fresh and innovative approach to the process.  He has assembled a terrific cast, headed by Lisa Harrow, world-renowned Shakespearean actress, as Prospero, whose production of King Lear three years ago brought our annual Shakespeare production into sharp focus both as a performance and as a community event.

Sublime music, transcendental poetry, high and low comedy and the true power of love - this is what to expect as you take your place in the striking and intensely human structure of this pop-up version of the second Globe Theatre, where at times you feel you are part of the production as well as a member of the audience.

We think you will have a great time here with us as Shakespeare yet again shows his undying genius and reminds us that "we are such stuff as dreams are made on."

~ Michael Hurst O.N.Z.M. ~

New Zealand Arts Laureate

 

Cast

Lisa Harrow Prospero
Allen Bartley Alonso
Anya Banerjee Goddess Iris / Mariner / Spirit
Cally Castell Boatswain / Spirit
Cole Jenkins Ariel
Holly Hudson Miranda
Jasper Sole Mariner / Spirit
Louise Bolton Goddess Juno / Mariner / Spirit
Jackson Coe Master of the Ship / Spirit
Mustaq Missouri Gonzalo
Paul Trimmer Ferdinand
Sheena Irving Sebastian
Travis Graham Caliban
Amanda Leo Mariner / Spirit
Ava Diakhaby Goddess Ceres / Mariner / Spirit
Cherie Moore Antonio / Prosper u/s
Frith Horan Francisco
James Crompton Trinculo
Jessie Lawrence Ariel
Lucy Suttor Adrian
Matthew Kereama Mariner / Spirit
Patrick Graham Stephano
Ryan Dulieu Ariel
Stuart Shacklock Mariner / Spirit

 

Franciska's Review:

This was my second venture into the Pop-up Globe ~ the world's first full-scale working replica of Shakespeare's second Globe theatre.  This time we were standing in the yard among the "groundlings".  In the early 17th century, groundlings were regular theatre goers who were too poor to pay for a seat in one of the (covered) three galleries.  They spent the entire play standing among a tightly-packed crowd and it is commonly believed that they would misbehave: throwing food (such as fruit and nuts) at characters they didn't like.

I can confirm that standing for an hour is pretty damn uncomfortable.  Two hours is uncomfortable to the point of distraction.  Needless to say, whist the first half of The Tempest was enjoyable, the second half was anything but.  Not due to any failure on the part of the performers (or the story line!) but simply due to the discomfort within my body.  Shame.  Nonetheless, I am grateful for the opportunity to experience the Globe Theatre as one of the commoners.  And who can complain about $15 theatre tickets?!?!!

It has been two decades since I last saw an AUSA Outdoor Summer Shakespeare production.  I vividly recall sitting under the clock tower watching A Midsummer Night's Dream.  It seemed like the perfect setting.  But not as perfect as being inside a replica of the Globe!

I was relatively unfamiliar with the story and let's be honest, Shakespearean language is difficult to follow.  However, the actors seamlessly brought the tale to life with a good dose of humour along the way.

I'm looking forward to seeing more Shakespeare during the Pop-up Globe season.