MHS Theatre will present The Tempest on Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. each night at the Performing Arts Center.
For the second year Tim Gittings, Core Company member at American Players Theatre, will direct the annual Shakespeare show with MHS Theatre. Gittings said he enjoys working with high school students because there is an urgency to Shakespeare’s writing that students seem to understand better than more settled, older actors.
“Shakespeare's characters decide they want something and they don't hold back, they go for it with everything they have,'' he said. "Everything seems to have an extra level of importance. That is an energy that teenagers understand.''
Brimming with magic, The Tempest tells the tale of power and the different ways people try to get it, what they will do to keep others from having it, and how they wield it once they have it. Gittings makes a bold choice to set the story in 1985 to underscore the relevance of these cultural problems in the modern world.
The modern setting also punctuates the gender dynamics at play in this production. In this version, Prospero is a woman in a significant position of power only to be usurped by her brother and another of her enemies.
“I feel this undercurrent of backlash against a powerful woman adds another layer that echos the gender issues that are so present in today’s environment,” Gittings said.
The show features 60 cast and crew to bring Shakespeare's tale of shipwrecks, sorcery and young love to life. Gittings feels that fundamentally, the work to shape the thoughts so that the words can be heard and understood is similar to the work he and his fellow professionals do at APT.
“However, the big difference is that this is the first chance to work with this language for many of these students and we have far less time to put it all together than a professional production would,'' he said. "That's a huge challenge and I'm consistently impressed at how hard everyone works to put this all together.”
More information and reserved tickets are available on the Middleton Theatre website. Same-day tickets can be purchased at the door before show time. Ticket prices are $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors.