Great acting, Enchanting, Refreshing, Ambitious, Entertaining
About the Show
Free to the public, Classical Theatre of Harlem's production of Shakespeare's late romance is set on the island of Hispaniola, home to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
The Tempest is a theatrical “gumbo”, with an intricate blend of usurping villains, youthful romance, music, magic, humor, and conspiracy. In this play, Shakespeare gives us such iconic characters as Ariel, Caliban, and our protagonist Prospero, whose quest for justice leads him to become unjust himself. Prospero’s magical island could be anywhere. The history of Haiti is nothing short of magical: this tiny Caribbean country won its independence by defeating three European superpowers: France, Britain, and Spain, demonstrating the same fighting spirit found in Caliban, and the same longing for freedom as Ariel. 'The Tempest' highlights the dynamics of freedom and captivity, imprisonment and rebellion, authority and tyranny.
"This is a beautiful yet uneven production, parts of which just don’t work. But it’s ambitious; studded with bits of French, Spanish and Creole; and enlivened by music and a smattering of dance that will make you wish for more. What’s good in it is enough to make it an energizing experience on a balmy summer night."
"Mixed-bag performances and a patchy sound system nag...Vibrant, if overflowing, vision that packs a lot of ideas into a streamlined 100 minutes. Cofield has called the play 'a theatrical gumbo.' Not every ingredient is edible."
"The production has distractions, including a few weak cast members. In adapting the text, the creative team has skewed the play's pacing; some longer expository scenes could have been tightened up. The sound is also managed so that actors' microphones often pick up mid-sentence. These minor qualms aside, 'The Tempest' is such stuff as dreams are made on--an open-throated, resonant production by an upstart theatre company, reminding us not to take freedom for granted."