For his closing number, "The Tempest," William Shakespeare borrowed
quite liberally from an earlier hit, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," albeit
in a slightly darker vein.
At Orange Coast College, which is closing its summer season with the
Bard's last play, this often-haunting cross between comedy and drama is
played exceptionally lightly with a cadre of spirits rivaling those in
"Midsummer" and a lighter-than-air flavor that favors reconciliation over
Director Alex Golson has cheerfully turned Shakespeare's "Tempest"
into a zephyr -- even the "monster" villain is more comically
misunderstood than vengefully evil. David Scaglione's setting in the
large Robert B. Moore Theatre is dabbed in colorful blues, greens and
violets, underscoring the fantasy aspect of the play.
"The Tempest" unfolds on an island off the Italian coast where
Prospero, the rightful duke of Milan, has been unceremoniously exiled.
He's made the place his own and raised his daughter, Miranda, from
toddler to blossoming young woman. When a vessel is shipwrecked --
largely by Prospero's own doing -- the crew struggles ashore, including a
young noble who's a perfect candidate for a son-in-law.
Greg McClure projects a powerful Prospero, though his articulation
occasionally falters even if his character doesn't. Andrea Gonzales is a
captivating Miranda, joyously falling for the equally smitten Ferdinand,
shyly enacted by Cade Bourne (Angela Lopez and Derek Wiley share these
roles at alternate performances).
As with any "Tempest," the plum roles are those of the good and evil
spirits, Ariel and Caliban respectively, and their impact is magnified in
the OCC production. Miracle Laurie is a delightfully flighty Ariel, a
beautiful spirit in perpetual motion, while James Grant plays the
gnarled, behorned Caliban as a benign troublemaker, gleefully devouring
his share of the scenery.
The drunken crewmen who become Caliban's comrades are rendered with
gusto by James McGinnis and Jared Carns. Alan Fattarini requires more
seasoning as the reigning noble Alonso, while Hugh Goodearl as Prospero's
delinquent brother Antonio and Travis Woods as his henchman Sebastian
contribute effective performances, and Raine Hambly is an elegant
Rachael Maddalena's choreographic contributions enhance the fantasy
portion of the production as spirits Danielle Johnson, Daunielle Hauser,
Erin Ainsworth, Elizabeth Silverman, Melinda Seaman and Nicole Shearin
drift in and out of the proceedings with effortless grace. Cynthia
Corley's attractive costumes enhance the visual effect, as do Sean
Shryer's lighting choices.
"The Tempest" closes out a single week's engagement with final
performances today and Sunday, having logged three daytime stagings for
student audiences. It's a colorful concoction calculated to go down
* TOM TITUS reviews local theater for the Daily Pilot. His reviews
appear Thursdays and Saturdays.
WHAT: "The Tempest"WHERE: Orange Coast College's Robert B. Moore
Theatre, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa
WHEN: Closing performances 8 p.m. tonight and 2 p.m. Sunday.
CALL: (888) 622-5376