Theatre Department Puts on Production of “The Tempest”

The cast of “The Tempest” after a performance. The Chase Photo: Matthew Dale

The Eastern New Mexico University Department of Theatre and Digital Filmmaking recently did a production of “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare. The play included both student and adult actors, and was directed by Patrick McCreary, assistant professor of theatre at ENMU. The play debuted Saturday, Feb. 22 on the main stage at the University Theatre Center, and closed Sunday, March 1 after six performances.

“The Tempest” was written in the early 1600s and is also believed to be one of the final plays Shakespeare wrote by himself. The play is set on an island off the coast of Italy where Prospero, a former Duke of Milan, resides with his daughter, a servant and a spirit. The servant is a disfigured person, who could also be considered as a monster, while the spirit also acts in service to Prospero and his daughter.

At the beginning of the play, Prospero uses his power to create a large storm—a tempest—that begins to sink a nearby ship which belongs to King Alonso of Naples. The ship is carrying various people, including the king and his son Ferdinand. Prospero created the storm because his brother and the King of Napes betrayed him and forced Prospero and his daughter away from Italy, which is how they ended up on the island. During the course of the play, Miranda, the daughter of Prospero, falls in love with Ferdinand. Throughout the play, there is a plot to kill the King of Naples and a plot to kill Prospero. At the end of the play, Prospero forgives all of the people who betrayed him and makes sure their ship is able to safely make it back to Naples. Prospero allows Miranda to go back to Naples with Ferdinand where they will get married.

The department’s production set was the island where most of the events occur. The set contained only the few props that were needed to set the scene; most of the set was free space which the actors wisely used to act out their scenes. The actors all performed their roles well, and the direction of the play was amazing. The lead character, Prospero, was played by ENMU student Darby Cavanaugh. Other cast members included Ariana Gasparlin, Kyra Gentry, Caleb Ramsell, Manny Rivera, Jon Barr, Don Criss, Rose Kelly, John Rollinson, Nathan Gandara and Desaili Gomez.

The play’s director, Patrick McCreary, has a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Principia University in Illinois. He also has two master’s degrees: one in technical theatre and one in theatre, performance both from Lindenwood University in Missouri. He worked in various aspects of over one hundred different productions across the country. He has also written and performed his own one-man shows and performed internationally in television, stage and opera. Outside of the arts, McCreary has served as city councilman and mayor of Hutchinson, Kan.

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