Spectacular sets, clever costumes, mesmerizing music and dazzling dancers are providing a clever twist to Shakespeare’s immortal romantic comedy “The Tempest.” Running for one final weekend in the beautiful York College Performing Arts Center, it is a feast of visual, vocal and musical exuberance.
Director Tom Marion has taken African rhythms and Shakespeare’s original dialogue to create a fascinating combination of young and old. Young scene stealers include eight sprites from the Learning Tree Multi-Cultural School.
Older talents include a magnificent musical accompaniment by Atiba Kwabena-Wilson and Tom Whitney. College aged jesters who are riotously funny are drunken Stephano (Ronald Soutar), his friend Trinculo (Hopeton Allen) and an uncontrollable half man/half beast Caliban (Joe Grasso). Also unabashedly funny is the wise Gonzalo (Leah Kesselly).
If “The Tempest” is not one of your best remembered Shakespearean projects, think of a modern reality show. Then unleash magical happenings affecting the shipwrecked crew and the island’s inhabitants.
The dialogue may be difficult to translate from seventeenth century English. Look for well crafted characterizations instead. They include the gracefully dancing Ariel. There is a charming romance between handsome Prince Ferdinand (Emerson Sampaio) and the beautiful Miranda (Olubukola Ogunmola). Enjoyable at every turn is the majestic and charismatic Duke Prospero (Solomon Peck). Unmistakable enemies to the Duke are King Alonso (Kazeem Oni), his brother Sebastian (Guerschom Dieurine), and the usurper Antonio (Devon Phillips).
Located at York College, 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Boulevard, there is ample parking and easy access by public transportation. There are three performances left, on Friday May 7 at 7 p.m. and Saturday. May 8, at 2 and 7 p.m. Call Matthew Katz, Director, 718-262¬-3750 or Kwame Clarke, Production Manager at 718-262-228 for ticket information.