Live Long and Prospero: A Sci-Fi Tempest

by Eve Hammond

Director, Stone Soup‘s Youth Conservatory Production of The Tempest

Tempest poster design by Carolynne Wilcox

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on”…

A dream within a dream, I thought as I auditioned students for our newest production by the Youth Conservatory production at Stone Soup Theatre.  Beginnings are such delicate times, you are just meeting new students and parents, you also greet with joy the families who are returning.  They walk in, they are nervous, they sit, they fidget, they look at phones, books, homework.  And then….we start.  Circle up, make movements and vocalizations around the circle…GOOD!  Now put more energy into it, put in more voice, then change the movement so it flows from one student to the next, then change your voice and copy.  GREAT!  Now Statue Gallery, become your favorite Science Fiction character.  Ah ha!  Caught ’em!  “Isn’t this supposed to be Shakespeare?”  Well yes, but Shakespeare with a twist of Star Trek…

As a director one of my most favorite rehearsal/audition moments is that sense of the dream within a dream.  Yes, we are coming together to produce a play.  But the dream starts the moment students walk in the door.  They are in a magical place where they know they can become someone else, experience another universe; another “multi-verse”.  They get to know other people in immediate ways.  Ask any stockbroker if to become a Time Lord Wizard Mage and her secretary to become her otherworldly Fairy assistant and you will get some pretty odd glances and probably an instant refusal.  But ask a group of fresh eyed, enthusiastic young actors to do the same and there starts the dream, the fun and the magic of theatre.  Play pretend?  Why don’t we all join in?

The play is cast, the students bouncing excitedly, still checking phones and homework but maybe a little less often during rehearsal breaks.  They would rather hang out with their new “tribe”, this special place where they can belong.  More than family, more than other individual activities, theatre promotes social interaction, and with people who UNDERSTAND me!   This is home to these young actors for 6 hours a week.  A mere 6 hours per week of amazing and productive flow time that doesn’t seem like work, it seems like….well…bliss.  This dream was started a few weeks ago for our science fiction version of Shakespeare’s last play, The Tempest.  The dream continues into the next weeks until opening night when it all comes together in a globe of color and language that will make you say “Live Long and Prospero“!

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Eve Hammond is a frequent instructor and director in Stone Soup Theatre’s Youth Conservatory Program. The Tempest runs March 23-April 1, 2012. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the Stone Soup Box office at 206.633.1883.

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