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Desiree Sanchez’s Bold, Beautiful Interpretation of “The Tempest” Explores Brave New Worlds Feb. 27th

The Aquila Theatre cast for a previous production of "The Tempest" included (from left) Calder Shilling, Michael Ring (who plays Antonio/Stephano on tour), Lizzy Dive, James Lavender (who plays Prospero on tour), and Kali Hughes (photo by Richard Termine)

The Aquila Theatre cast of “The Tempest” included (from left) Calder Shilling, Michael Ring, Lizzy Dive, James Lavender, and Kali Hughes (Ring plays Antonio/Stephano and Lavender Plays Prospero on this tour) (photo by Richard Termine)

The critically acclaimed Aquila Theatre of New York City will present its artistic director Desiree Sanchez’s bold and beautiful interpretation of The Tempest, a revenge fantasy that many scholars consider to be he valedictory drama by English playwright and poet William Shakespeare (1564-1616), at 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 27th, in the Titmus Theatre in N.C. State University’s Frank Thompson Hall in Raleigh, as part of the NCSU Center Stage series. George Mason University’s Center for the Arts called this play, “Shakespeare’s ultimate commentary on life and art, vengeance and forgiveness[. It] is unique among his work and is widely considered to be one of his finest [plays]. The acclaimed British-American touring company, Aquila Theatre, brings to [the] stage this tale of shipwrecks, magical powers, vengeance, forgiveness, and enlightenment….”

According to the Aquila Theatre, The Tempest is “[b]elieved to be Shakespeare’s final play.” Moreover:

“… The Tempest is imbued with magic, the supernatural, and a heightened sense of theatricality. Prospero, the Duke of Milan, has been usurped and exiled by his own brother [Antonio]. He is stranded on a remote and mystical island with his daughter Miranda, who has been on the island from a very young age. Hoping to restore Miranda to her rightful place, and to seek revenge, Prospero conjures a storm to shipwreck his brother and those who conspired against him. The beautiful Miranda falls in love with Ferdinand, son of [Alonso, king of Naples,] one of the conspirators, putting her relationship with Prospero to the test just as retribution is finally within reach.

The Aquila Theatre will bring its innovative style and dynamic physical approach to Shakespeare’s famous magical tale of forgiveness and enlightenment. The New York Times has described Aquila’s productions as ‘Gleefully engaging…almost unbearable fun … directed with inspiration’ while The New Yorker has raved ‘Beautifully spoken, dramatically revealing and crystalline in effect.’ With an ensemble of superb performers and Aquila’s exhilarating execution, this new production of The Tempest is sure to delight.”

Lizzy Dive is shown here with James Lavender, who plays Prospero on tour (photo by Richard Termine)

Lizzy Dive is shown here with James Lavender, who plays Prospero on tour (photo by Richard Termine)

Directed by Aquila Theatre artistic director Desiree Sanchez, with musical direction and original music by Ralph Farris, The Tempest stars James Lavender as Prospero, Tara Crabbe as Miranda, Joseph Cappellazzi as Caliban/Ferdinand, Carys Lewis as Ariel/Gonzalo, Rupert Baldwin as Alonso/Trinculo, and Michael Ring as Antonio/Stephano.

The show’s creative team also includes technical director Bob Rogers, Aquila Theatre founder and lighting designer Peter Meineck, costume designer Deanna Berg MacLean, sound designer and stage manager Christopher Marc, and props designer and scenic carpenter designer Sara Morgan.

SECOND OPINION: Jan. 19th Raleigh, NC ArtsNow preview by Khushbu Gosai:

NCSU Center Stage presents the Aquila Theatre’s production of THE TEMPEST at 8 p.m. Feb. 27 in the Titmus Theatre in Frank Thompson Hall, 2241 E. Dunn Ave., Raleigh, North Carolina 27607, on the N.C. State University campus.

TICKETS: $28 (extremely limited availability).

BOX OFFICE: 919-515-1100,, or








NOTE: At 7 p.m., there will be a show discussion with a member of Aquila Theatre at The Crafts Center, located on the lower level of Frank Thompson Hall.


The Tempest (1610-11 tragicomedy and romance): (Wikipedia).

William Shakespeare (English playwright and poet, 1564-1616): (Wikipedia).

The Tempest (2014-15 National Tour): (official web page).

Aquila Theatre (New York City-based theater troupe, founded in 1991 in London): (official website), (Baylin Artists Management), (Facebook page),, and (Wikipedia).

Desiree Sanchez (Aquila Theatre artistic director and adapter and director of this play): (Aquila Theatre bio).


Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

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