Small moments make 'Tempest'
By LARRY PARNASS, Staff Writer
Thursday, July 20, 2000 -- (AMHERST) -
Overheard, as Shakespeare's ship founders: "A pox o' your throat! You
bawling, blasphemous incharitable dog!"
That is Sebastian's lament to a boatswain near the start of "The
Tempest," one of many panicked remarks with which a production by the Hampshire
Shakespeare Company shoves off. Sebastian's pal Antonio adds his own verbal
whipping for the sea-going help: "Hang, cur, hang! You whoreson, insolent,
noise-maker ... "
The ship goes down, we're told, but the main craft of this 1610-11 play - its
bruising, funny, romantic language - sails on in a strong production that
continues through Sunday in Amherst and Hadley.
Though assembling the pieces of any work by Shakespeare is complicated, the
best productions can be enjoyed both for their unity and for their many small
moments. When a show uses both experienced actors and newcomers, we're more apt
to savor the pieces.
Director Andrew Lichtenberg, a veteran teacher, actor and director of
Shakespeare, draws fine performances from a cast that came ready to deliver. The
leads were solid in the production I saw Tuesday - particularly Ed Dunn as the
magician Prospero, Lon Bull as Stephano and newcomer Harry Bauld as Ariel.
Still, I was engaged most not by the mounting intrigue but by separate
moments, such as a graceful, footsure dance by a circle of spirits, played by
members of the group's Young Company.
And while Dunn, as Prospero, orchestrated a lesson in humanity writ large for
those washed onto his shores by the tempest, I was drawn to the way humanity
rippled in the expressions and gestures of actors like Alan Dallman, who played
one of the schemers, Antonio.
Dallman, who teaches mathematics at the Amherst Regional Middle School, taps
a natural charisma. He brings us a sidelines portrait of a man who first plots
with a confederate to kill a king, then goes through believable changes in the
frenetic plot turns that, while they put the 'S' on Shakespeare, can today seem
Both Dallman and Kerry David Strayer, as Sebastian, insinuated themselves
into their characters, with performances that should spring them into leading
roles in future Hampshire Shakespeare productions.
Harry Bauld showed both his featherweight boxer's build and ring agility (he
teaches the sport at the Putney School, where he leads the English Department)
as the spirit Ariel, who does Prospero's bidding. Bauld, bare-chested and done
up with intricate tattoos across his pate, demonstrated an easy comfort with a
complex set, in his first stage outing.
As Prospero's other underling, the slave Caliban, Justin McClintock also had
to work with minimal costume. The University of Massachusetts senior, who played
the lover Orsino in the season's first production, "Twelfth Night,"
rose to this role's physical demands.
In the play's funniest subplot, he lit his passions with the "celestial
liquor" salvaged from the wrecked ship by Lon Bull, playing Stephano.
Joined by Gershon Eigner, as the jester Trinculo, the three-some is tormented by
the unseen Ariel. Their work together is quick, funny and ribald.
Producer Sarah Wilson, in remarks to the audience, warned that with a new
air-conditioning device in place on the back of the Lord Jeffery Inn, where the
play will again be performed tonight, actors faced a challenge being heard. Not
all met that challenge.
Next time I go, I'll keep my complete Shakespeare volume open in my lap,
letting the printed page save some lines that are lost to jet noise and
Dee Waterman, in her first role as a man, was appealing as the honest
Gonzalo, but also hard to hear, as was Walter Lesure, a newcomer to the stage
who played the king of Naples with good intensity in his eyes, but too much
slouch in his bearing.
Three players could not have stood any truer: Sally Ann Dunn, Mary Anarella
and Laura Eden Patnode were lovely as the spirits Iris, Ceres and Juno. Their
light steps and beautiful voices glittered like the sparkles dusting their arms.
Their time on stage was cut short by an impatient Prospero, but the spell they
"The Tempest," a production of the Hampshire Shakespeare
Company, continues through Sunday, with a show tonight in the rear garden of the
Lord Jeffery Inn and productions Friday-Sunday at the Hartsbrook School at 193
Bay Road in Hadley. Shows are at 7 p.m., with food available from 6 p.m. on at
the Lord Jeffery Inn.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for students and seniors and $6 for those 18
and under. For information call 548-8118.
The Young Company, whose members have been understudying the roles in
"The Tempest," will mount their own production of the play July 28-30.
Tickets for those shows are $5.