Originally created 11/07/97

`Tempest' has storm of laughs

A tempest is a violent storm.

So is Shakespeare's The Tempest, being performed Wednesday through Sunday, Nov. 16, by the Augusta State University drama department.

The dethroned Duke of Milan, Prospero (Greg Toomey), is exiled by the King of Naples to a desolate Mediterranean island. With him is his lovely daughter, Miranda (Meredith Hackett), and his not so lovely servant, Caliban (Tommy Cooper).

The three aren't alone for long. Prospero conjures up all of his enemies, the King of Naples (Graeme Kutt) and the King's nasty brother to seek revenge. (Instead of bringing things he loves to his deserted island, Prospero decides to bring people he hates.)

But it all works out happily. Prospero slips the King's son Ferdinand (Jeffrey Seals) a love potion, making him fall in love with Miranda. Then the King says he's sorry, and Prospero gets to go back to Milan and become a Duke again.

The Tempest is the last play Shakespeare wrote before he moved from London to the country squire world of Stratford-on-Avon. Many scholars say this comedy was his farewell to the theater.

"It's probably his best comedy ever," says Gene Muto, director of theater at Augusta State. "It's his most mature. It's sophisticated. And it's absolutely beautiful. It's my favorite play I've worked on, ever. The language is absolutely perfect, and the plot is absolutely intriguing."

And it's short, Dr. Muto says. It runs only about 90 minutes.

The 25 member cast includes: Greg Toomey, Meredith Hackett, Jeffrey Selas, Graeme Kutt, Rob Hughey, Matt Finnegan, Drew Davis, Hillary Scarbrough, Lucas Rakovsky, Ann Ennis and Tommy Cooper.

On stage

What: The TempestWhen: 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, Nov. 15, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16Where: Augusta State University's Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre, 2500 Walton WayHow much: $7, students with a valid Augusta State ID admitted free.Phone: 667-4173


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