Centenary presents Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” at Marjorie Lyons Playhouse November 14-21

SHREVEPORT, LA — Shakespeare’s The Tempest, in the words of American Shakespeare Center founding artistic director Jim Warren, explores “new beginnings, fresh starts, and brave new worlds.” Warren brings his experience and unique vision to the Shreveport stage later this month as guest director for the Centenary Department of Theatre production of The Tempest at the College’s Marjorie Lyons Playhouse. The show opens Thursday, November 14 and runs through Thursday, November 21. A full schedule and show times are available at centenary.edu/playhouse.

The Tempest, which first appeared in print in 1623, blends elements of magic, romance, revenge, and farce into a story which straddles theatrical genres and presents characters who cannot be classified as wholly good or evil. The central figure, Prospero, is a magician who has been robbed of his position, power, and wealth, and now lives isolated on a distant island. He calls on his magical powers to create a storm that shipwrecks his enemies on his island and sets off a chain of betrayal, revenge, and forgiveness. Warren believes that the complexity of Shakespeare’s text has kept the play relevant for modern audiences.

“By refusing to write a play that lives in one specific genre, Shakespeare created a dramatic comedy that flirts with elements of fantasy and breathes with the danger and ambiguity of real life,” explains Warren. “It's a drama. It's a comedy. Just like life.”

The production guest stars Heather Peak Hooper as Prospero. Hooper first worked with Warren over 20 years ago and says it has been “thrilling and challenging” to collaborate with him on Centenary’s production of The Tempest. Her co-stars, all Centenary students, have also been enriched by the opportunity to work with an accomplished Shakespearean director.

“Working on this show has been a lot of fun and a great experience,” says Anthony Castillo, who plays Ferdinand. “In the past I have always struggled with Shakespeare, but Jim makes it very interesting and easy to understand. The audience is a huge part of the show and he really uses it to his advantage.”

Emily Clarke appears as Gonzalo in Centenary’s The Tempest and believes that the production will surprise MLP audiences.

"We've put our own unique spin on the story that I don't think anyone will expect,” says Clarke. “Our director has been so much fun to work with and our cast is so incredibly talented that I truly think that coming to see it could forever change the way you look at Shakespeare."

Tickets for The Tempest are $15 for general admission, $10 for military personnel and seniors, and $5 for students with ID. Tickets are free for all Centenary students, faculty, and staff. Visit centenary.edu/playhouse for more information or to purchase tickets.

For more information on guest director Jim Warren, visit jimwarren-director.com.