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The Tempest (Mobile Unit)

From 8 critic and 14 member reviews
Members say: Great acting, Entertaining, Great staging, Delightful, Refreshing

About the show

The Public Theater's Mobile Unit presents this new, bare-bones staging of Shakespeare's great romance. Tickets are distributed 90 minutes before each performance at The Public and by digital lottery on TodayTix. More…

Prospero, a powerful magician and the rightful Duke of Milan, has been usurped by her brother and has escaped to a remote and barren island. There, despite the unforgiving landscape, she has tried her best to make a home for her daughter, Miranda. When Prospero conjures a powerful storm to sink her brother’s ship, she must decide how to deal with him and his confederates, who have washed ashore. How will she exact her long awaited revenge? How do you satiate a desire for justice?

This Mobile Unit production journeys across the five boroughs before landing at The Public’s Astor Place home.  Now in its eighth year, the Mobile Unit meets audiences where they are by presenting world-class Shakespeare and other works in recreation centers, prisons, senior centers, schools, and other community gathering places across the five boroughs.

Front Row Center

"Taking the journey with them is a free-falling rollercoaster ride that will leave you smiling from ear to ear and looking forward to running back to get in line and do the ride again. This is Shakespeare as he intended; bawdy, wild, fun for the masses...There are hilarious drunken scenes with Trinculo, Stephano, and Caliban. The three of them are the 3 Stooges reincarnated and spruced up to this century. My face hurt from laughing so much." Full Review


“This particular initiative, with all of its humility, guilelessness, and simplicity while sacrificing none of the excellence, world-class talents and elements of exceptional theatre, does perhaps the truest honor to founder Joseph Papp...It’s a rare joy to encounter free theatre of such impeccable quality that is so determined to inspire...The condensed 90 minute version of the classic work is as light as a tropical breeze while losing none of the relationships, intentions or even the subtle... Full Review


“This tale about revenge, and its possible alternatives, is the perfect show to see for Mother's Day...A compact production that gives us the fable without its embroidery...Taylor is the most even-tempered Prospero I have seen...All fun, and no fuss. Original music performed on various instruments, adds mood and atmosphere...This new gender-blind production gives the old play a new spin and fits right in with the #Metoo era." Full Review

The New York Times

“Woolery has streamlined the play to 90 minutes with no intermission and turned it into a bona fide lovefest, with songs and an emphasis on comedy and romance. You leave this storm rejuvenated rather than wet, confused, and cold...She treats the text not as a sacred manuscript but as a guidebook to humanity, full of characters with needs and desires as familiar to us as they were 400 years ago.” Full Review

Plays to See

"Prospero is brought to life with power and versatility by Myra Lucretia Taylor...There are so many characters in this play that it can feel overwhelming on the page. But the cast does a brilliant job of making each one of them memorable...The cast puts forth warm, accessible performances that you might feel are designed specifically for you, the audience. They prove themselves up to the task of curating a Shakespearean experience that will find new treasures and pull new heartstrings." Full Review


"Woolery stresses in her program notes for Mobile Unit's thoroughly enrapturing new production her intention to highlight the play's moments of forgiveness...Woolery’s mounting...presents two of the piece's male characters as women and another as non-binary, creating a distinction between societies existing inside and outside patriarchal domination...At the center of the storm is the beautiful, understated, strong and compassionate performance of Myra Lucretia Taylor as Prospero.” Full Review

Time Out New York

"Feisty, fast and free...This 'Tempest' accentuates the silver linings of forgiveness, freedom and love in Shakespeare’s tale...There's only so much time for soul-searching in a production that leans in to the humor of the tragicomedy...The performances are broad, the staging is energetic and there are ample opportunities to clap and sing along. Much of the poetry has been excised for the sake of expediency, but this is Shakespeare for the people, not the purists." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

"With its fast action, accent on comedy, and percussive score by Michelle J. Rodriguez, this may be a fine way to introduce young persons of your acquaintance to Shakespeare...A middling effort from the Mobil Unit, this is a 'Tempest' that scants the play's mystery and its insistence on the power of forgiveness in favor of louder-faster-funnier comedy." Full Review

Powerful ensemble, Beautifully staged, Intense, Magical, Swift

See it if you want to see a "Tempest" that fully realizes its potential as valedictory love letter to the theater.

Don't see it if you want to keep your distance: Here a full company of actors on the move plays very close.

Also I sat amid a group of young Bronx students at the Mobile Unit’s taut, ... Read more Read less

Clever staging and use of props, Great acting, Delightful

See it if you like community theatre atmosphere with professional acting, direction, etc; appreciate creativity in staging and use of props

Don't see it if you don't like watching a full Shakespeare play; comfort and good sightlines are important; require traditional theatre presentation

Refreshing, Intelligent, Great acting, Entertaining, Delightful

See it if a wildly hopeful entertaining Shakespeare staging and only 90 minutes!

Don't see it if not into Shakespeare

Energetic spare staging with great cast

See it if Mobile Unit does wonders with small space. Trimmed 90 minute script in traditional language. Energetic cast led by Taylor as Prospero.

Don't see it if Jasai Chase-Owens is a charismatic Ferdinand (he was Lysander in the prior Mobile Unit "Midsummer...") Sam Morales is a lovely Miranda.

Also It's FREE. Go see it!

Engaging, Entertaining, Ambitious, Great staging, Clever

See it if you like pared-down, accessible WS. Greatly cut script has emphasis on comedy. Well-acted, imaginatively staged. Kids in audience loved it.

Don't see it if you like traditional Shakesp. Much time spent w clowns (Stefano/Trinculo). Mobile unit prodns are always good. This one is no exception.

Cliched, Refreshing, Great acting

See it if You enjoy a more delightful adaption or Shakespeares work. This is more about celebrating life and love than revenge. Intimate staging too

Don't see it if You want to see Shakespeare’s work as it is. More into more established staging.

A little moody, Short on emotional heft, Quirky, Entertaining, Great staging

See it if Some delightful touches. MobU always has a few tricks that make it worthwhile. You like drumbeats, actors doubling polar opposites.

Don't see it if hope it gets to the heart of things & rigorously thought it all out. Some actors/chars shortchanged—some memorable, some over-conventional.

Also Honestly, this was kind of hard to follow. I’m familiar enough w/ the ... Read more Read less

Entertaining, Serviceable, Fun

See it if you just can't get enough of this play or have never had the opportunity to see it before. There's nothing particularly new about this one.

Don't see it if you're looking for a production that provides a fresh new take or impresses with its acting. This production is just totally fine.

Also The last Mobile Unit show I saw (Twelfth Night) really fit its niche -... Read more Read less

Energetic production of one of will's best; if only i'd been able to hear it

See it if High-spirited, joyous production filled w music and dancing

Don't see it if stripped down production misses full array of the Tempest's magic; hard to hear dialog over music/sound effects

Shakespeare "light", Entertaining, Fun

See it if you're a Public Theatre/Mobile Unit fan (I am) & you know this convoluted WS play fairly well in advance-it's very abridged

Don't see it if you're not interested in Shakespeare - this is one of his more complicated plots with many characters in assorted relationships

Also Fun, lightweight production, with sing-a-long, conga drums & mostly yo... Read more Read less

Great singing, Great staging, Disappointing, Great acting

See it if you like toned down accessibly theatre

Don't see it if you want to be impressed by technical and innovative storytelling

Delightful, Refreshing, Great staging, Entertaining, Clever

See it if you're into inventive Shakespeare adaptations. Mobile Unit is a great team, and they always have fun with staging and performances.

Don't see it if you're expecting to have your mind blown. I would say their production of Twelfth Night two years ago was stronger and more active/fun.

Cliched, Thought-provoking, Great acting

See it if You enjoy inventive, condensed Shakespeare. This cast does a great job with the text and physical choices.

Don't see it if You're not into audience participation in a Shakespeare show.

Limited, Great staging, Great acting, Dizzying, Disappointing

See it if See it to see Shakespeare done in an accessible way.

Don't see it if Don’t see it if you are well versed in Shakespeare and expect more.

Cast & Creatives (12)