Nobody should ever watch Shakespeare inside a theater again. The Rockland Shakespeare Company has proven that the only true way to enjoy the Bard is outside, sitting on a rock wall, just as the sun sets.
"The Tempest," the 14th annual outdoor summer Shakespeare production at SUNY Rockland, was the perfect show for this year's performance.
First, opening night was delayed due to a terrible storm, eerily paralleling the play. Second, the talent the Rockland Shakespeare Company offers was showcased beautifully.
The show follows Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, who uses his masterful art of manipulation and illusion to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place by marrying her to the King of Naples son, Ferdinand.
Every actors played every role fantastically. Stavros Adamides' impressive performance as Prospero carried the show, acting as the common thread for each scene.
Other standout moments included Chris Plummer's Caliban and Chris Kent Humphreys' drunken butler. The physical demands of Plummer's role never hindered his incredible abilities with Shakespeare and the audience never failed to laugh while Humphreys was on stage.
The set was extremely simplisitic, using a tent and the trees in the surrounding area, with not much else to distract from the writing.
“The heart of this production is in the words and the strength of the characters who speak them,” said Plummer, who also directed.
This theme of “non-theme” worked extemely well for “The Tempest.” How anyone else did it any other way seems ludacris.
The costumes were exquisite, fitting each character perfectly. The spirits' costumes were especially outstanding, giving the girls playing the spirits an ethereal air. As a person who enjoys Shakespeare because the spirits and their roles in the shows, this effort was extremely appreciated.
The stage crew were efficient and professional, rounding out the enormous task that putting on an outdoor summer show must be.
For the past 14 years, Rockland County residents have enjoyed and looked forward to the Rockland Shakespeare Company's annual performance. If “The Tempest” is any indication of what is to come, may RSC have 14 more years to amaze audiences.
“The Tempest” played in the anphitheater courtyard at SUNY Rockland at 7 p.m. on July 8-10 and 15-17. Admission was free and open to the public. Lawn chairs and picnic dinners are encouraged.