• C.J. Maxwell

The Tempest – with a twist


PHOTO BY VALERIE PROVOST

(Left to right): Patrick Gareau playing Ferdinand, Diana Gausden portraying Prospera, and Sophie McCafferty as Miranda will transport you to the magic and intrigue of Shakespeare’s The Tempest on the shores of Hudson’s Jack Layton Park this summer.

Warm evenings spent outdoors near the water offer their own brand of magic in our short summer season but add in a theatrical presentation of a Shakespearean classic and it makes for an unforgettable memory.

Beginning July 12 and running until July 22, the troupe from the Hudson Players Club presents Shakespeare’s The Tempest, a mystical and romantic adventure in the scenic amphitheatre of Jack Layton Park on the shores of the Lake of Two Mountains.

“The setting is just magical,” said director Mary Vuorela. “You really get a better sense of the characters and what they’re going through.”

Believed to be Shakespeare’s final solo piece of writing, The Tempest is set on a remote island and with the use of illusion and manipulation, the banished Prospera, Duchess of Milan, living in exile with her daughter Miranda, incorporates magic to conjure an eponymous tempest to shipwreck a boat. Aboard the boat is the Alonso, the King of Naples, and his lords and servants – the very men who usurped Prospera as Duchess.

The Tempest is just one in a long string of theatrical accomplishments for Hudson resident Vuorela after previously directing the critically acclaimed Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2015. With musical direction by Roy Vuorela, she welcomes the challenge of taking on the story of the Tempest with a twist – the protagonist is being portrayed as a woman rather than male as traditionally written by Shakespeare.

“It’s Prospera for our production, not Prospero,” said Vuorela. “It’s not a new idea – Stratford is doing it this summer with Helen Mirren. It makes the story much more intense. Some of the wrongs that were done to Prospero can resonate more strongly when it’s a mother and daughter who’ve been exiled.”

All the other roles remain true to the original story.

“So much in the text lends itself to a woman playing the title role and given the current climate of debate around gender it is my hope that this play will not only entertain but also continue a very important conversation,” she said. “But first and foremost, The Tempest is a story of betrayal, young love, fantastical creatures and magic! Enjoy the show!”

Performances begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 12 to Sunday, July 16 and Wednesday, July 18 to Sunday, July 22. There is a suggested donation of 10$.

Bring a chair or two, maybe a blanket and some mosquito repellent. Don’t let the bugs interfere with the intrigue, magic, music and love of Shakespeare.

Barring a torrential downpour or another blazing heatwave, the show will take place (light) rain or shine.

For more information on this production please visit www.hudsonplayersclub.ca or contact John Sheridan, Publicity Chair at (514) 971-5646 or by email at future.john0@gmail.com.

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