What the Critics Said:
“Director Jon Tracy has earned a well-deserved reputation for his bold adaptations of classics ranging from ‘Animal Farm’ to Homer's ‘Iliad’ and ‘Odyssey.’ This time, in his debut outing with Marin Shakespeare Company, Tracy's taken on "The Tempest."
.…The matchup is thoroughly inventive, often engrossing and at times highly entertaining….
The deposed and exiled Duke Prospero (Robert Parsons) is a scientist - not mad but edgy and a little unhinged - in the electrical wizardry mold.
Sarah Gold's Miranda, far from the usual innocent, obedient daughter, is an angry, rebellious teen, providing some great sparks in an early father-daughter face-off. Ariel has become the Ariel Coil, Prospero's great invention, represented by set designer Nina Ball's huge, buzzing cylindrical gizmo and moving sheds stuffed with period hardware to match the 1900 leather aprons of Abra Berman's costumes.
The Coil controls the Qualities, six deft, top-hatted and goggle-eyed functionaries popping out of trapdoors to contribute humorous stage magic with their robotic movements. But Tracy's biggest change - besides drastically cutting, rearranging and redistributing the text - is turning Caliban from a semi-human denizen of the island to an ‘indigenous scientist.’ Michael Torres' forceful, keen-eyed Caliban is just what Tracy wants for a worthy opponent for Prospero.
[T]he effort is intriguing in many ways, and some moments come alive with engaging originality….This is a remarkably prosaic ‘Tempest.’”
– Robert Hurwitt, San Francisco Chronicle
“Director Jon Tracy has delightfully set The Tempest in a steampunk inspired Victorian land of imagination. Prospero’s cell does not evoke ceremonial magic ala Dr. Faustus but rather the laboratory of mad Dr. Frankenstein. The magic here is the magic of electricity and science, not demons. But the magic, happily, is intact and the vision is successfully realized.
Robert Parsons’ Prospero is not a powerful magician, but a frightened, angry, socially inept science nerd more at ease with his mechanical devices than he is with any human being. His Ariel is not evoked by prayerful gestures or chants, but is plugged in to some sort of electrical device and moves mechanically. Perhaps I should say Ariels (plural) as Ariel here is manifested as several mechanical seeming creatures who speak simultaneously in hauntingly effective fashion. This is all very difficult to describe but a pleasure to see and hear.
.…for the joy of this visually thrilling production, one is happily willing to suspend disbelief. Mr. Torres’ Caliban is full of confused poetry, passion and ambition, as he should be.
Prospero and Caliban are (rightly) the centerpiece of the production, along with the extraordinary Ariel performed as an ensemble by Silvia Girardi, Maro Guevara, Kimberly Miller, Nesbyth Rieman, Erika Salazar and Jeremy Vik. They are all excellent.
The supporting cast does a fine job of moving the story along and keeping things clear.
As a treat for the senses, this production is a marvelous success….
On its visually thrilling terms, the production is a hands-down winner and I recommend that you attend.”
-- Charles Kruger, TheatreStorm