The most important thing to performing Shakespeare's "The Tempest," according to Cameron Crain, is to have fun with it.
"It's one of Shakespeare's most well-respected plays, but it's not performed that often," he said. "There are a lot of problems with it."
The president and managing director of the Nevada Shakespeare Company, which is putting on "The Tempest (kinda)" at the Gold Hill Hotel's annual Shakespeare on the Rocks performance in the hotel's outdoor gazebo starting Thursday, said wordiness is the problem with the play.
"There's too much dialogue and backstory," he said. "The second scene in particular is so dialogue-heavy I can put audiences to sleep."
Crain said that William Shakespeare himself often borrowed storylines from other authors, then twisted them for his own purposes, so Crain in turn decided to put his own twists on "The Tempest."
"We're calling it The Tempest (kinda) with apologies to William Shakespeare for a reason," he said.
Crain, who adapted, directed and co-stars in the play with his wife Michele, said "our version celebrates the bawdiness of Shakespeare as well as the poetry of Shakespeare, and as Shakespeare borrowed and altered from those who came before him, so have we done with his story."
Crain looked at popular touchstones for the public with storms and the sea as themes and wanted to also keep it lighthearted, he said, so he added a passage from "Moby Dick," the theme from "Jaws" and "Gilligan's Island."
He also trimmed the play from its nearly three hours to just under two.
Though the play is technically labeled romance, Crain said his version will without question be a comedy.
"Scholars argue about what to do but we are for sure playing up the comedy," he said. "We hope the heart of the play is still intact and the heart of the play is forgiveness."
He said the main character, Prospero, harbors anger at those who wronged him, and gets them to end up on this island so he can get revenge, but chooses instead to forgive them.
The cast is a combination of the Nevada Shakespeare Company and Gold Hill Theater Troupe, with Dan Morgan playing Prospero, Lynnette Brown as Ariel, Michael Schwalb as Calaban, Dana Worland as Stephano, Pan Pantoja as Trinculo, Crain as Ferdinand, his wife, Michele as Miranda, Robin McGregor as Queen Alonza, Alexandra Musser as Stephani, Brian Ballinger as Antonio and Duffy Robson as Gonzalo.
Two new child characters are introduced and, indicative of Crain's sense of humor, offers Ben Reynolds as Virus and Lynda Gillespie as Sniffles.
Redarle Baker serves as stage manager and director of the preshow starring local singer Dawn. Ballinger serves as technical director, James Russell as lighting and sound operator, and costumes are by Bevin and Trinity Winslow.
The Gazebo will feature a bar, and dinner will be available in the hotel from 5 to 8 p.m.
This is the fourth year for Shakespeare on the Rocks, said producer Bill Fain, winner of a 2008 Governor's Arts Award. "This production is full of laughs and surprises from start to finish."
- Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-7351.