The Tempest Storms Walker



In The Tempest, Miranda, played by Carla Sephton ’21, falls in love with Ferdinand, played by Asa Tuke ’21.

While thunder crashes in the background, water splatters on the audience as sailors attempt to save their ship from a storm. Last weekend, the Hotchkiss Dramatic Association (HDA) hosted its winter production, The Tempest by William Shakespeare, in Walker Auditorium.
In The Tempest, Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, uses magic to regain his title after being deposed by his brother and stranded on an island with his daughter, Miranda. According to Mr. Parker Reed, instructor in English and theatre and director of the production, “Many factors influenced this play’s selection. I sought something that could challenge and delight our current actors. Perhaps most importantly, I appreciate Shakespeare’s romances for their blend of comic and tragic moments.”
The play was accompanied by original music written by Desmond Teague ’20 and Kelly Zuo ’20. The score was performed by Teague, Zuo, Clara Ma ’23, Sam Beutner ’20, and Allison Lin ’22 on flute, drums, and cello, respectively, with each instrument representing a different character in the play. Zuo said, “This is the first time we [have] ever scored a play, [which] is different from just composing music, because we are serving to better the audience’s understanding [of the characters and the story]. Coordinat[ing] the music with the actors on stage was a challenge. Eventually, we decided to do it live for that reason.”
Zuo and Teague worked in conjunction with the HDA cast and crew, who participated in two-hour-long rehearsals six nights a week. Mr. Charles Noyes, former instructor in art and coordinator of faculty mentorship, played Prospero. He described the rehearsal process as “intense, in capital letters, from start to finish.” However, despite the mental effort involved, Noyes said, “To work as a team [with these students] is really humbling. I am amazed at their ability to cope, to learn, to grow, to struggle, [and] to support one another.”
Throughout rehearsals, actors developed a deeper understanding of the play and acting in general. Rock Zhu ’20 played Caliban, a being raised and enslaved by Prospero. Zhu commented, “Caliban’s character is really intricate and difficult to portray on stage. He’s not a complete human character, so [I had]… a lot [of movement and vocal choices] to experiment with. I was pushed to go one step further, [and] to [dig deeper into] Caliban’s personality and his relationship with other characters.”
Overall, the performance was met with approval from the audience. Shannon Meng ’22 commented, “The lighting and sound effects used on stage were very realistic, and [they] fit well with the play. The actors were [also] very passionate.”
Zhu further added, “It’s a story about love, redemption, [and] forgiveness. Although the story is far from us, there are things audience members can learn, as well as the actors. It’s a story that a lot of us can connect to.”
The next production in Walker Auditorium is Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, directed by Mr. Derek Brashears, director of theatre. The show will open on Friday, April 24.