A tempest like no other

GOLD HILL " Cameron Crain's version of Shakespeare's "The Tempest," called "The Tempest (kinda)" lives up to the Gold Hill Hotel's annual Shakespeare on the Rocks (with a twist).

It definitely has a twist. In fact, it's full of twists.

The play mixes Bard's romantic comedy with today's humor and rock 'n' roll and pop tunes, changes a few characters and essentially turns the early-1600s original on its head, while keeping the audience laughing throughout.

The changes make for a madcap but magical version of an already funny play. Thursday's opening night audience laughed all the way through.

In the original version, the sorcerer Prospero and his daughter, Miranda are trapped on an island after Prospero's brother, Antonio and the king of Naples, Alonso, conspired to overthrow him and set him adrift at sea.

They landed on the island, controlled by a deformed monster, Calaban, and an assortment of spirits, all of whom Prospero turns into his servants. He causes a storm designed to bring his enemies, Antonio, Alonso and his brother, Sebastian, Gonzalo, the king's adviser, Alonso's son, Ferdinand, Stephano, a drunk and Trinculo, two ship's crew members.

Calaban, Stephano and Trinculo conspire to kill Prospero, which they don't, Prospero conspires with Ariel to cause Ferdinand and Miranda to fall in love, which they do, and Antonio and Sebastian conspire to kill Alonso and Gonzalo to put Sebastian on the throne, which they don't.

And though he originally plans vengeance, Prospero decides to forgive.

In the "kinda" version, Prospero, played by Dan Morgan, runs the emotional gamut from anger to forgiveness, and Ariel, played by Lynnette Brown, performs her magic to aid him in his plans, but those are about all this version of "The Tempest" has in common with the original.

Probably because of a larger number of actresses than actors, King Alonso becomes a campy Queen Alonsa, played by Robin McGregor, puffing regally on a cigarette in a fancy holder; Sebastian becomes Stephani, dressed to the nines and played by Alexandra Musser.

A dashing Antonio is played by Bryan Ballinger.

Also the spirits, Iris, Ceres and Juno are replaced by two child spirits, Virus and Sniffles, played by Ben Reynolds and Lynda Robson.

The ship was taken over by Trinculo, played by Pan Toja, and Stephano, played by Dana Worland, actors who got the boatswain drunk and stole the ship, much to the chagrin of the passengers.

In another twist Miranda, played by Michele Crain, is a passionate but clumsy animal rights activist. Slapstick scenes show Calaban the monster, played by Michael Schwalb, going through a fit of flatulence, Gonzalo, played by Duffy Gillespie, breaking into "to be, or not to be," monologues, and an air guitar contest between Ferdinand, played by director Cameron Crain, and Prospero to Def Leppard and Van Halen tunes.

Music is a major source of laughter, as the ship's passengers appear to the strains of Gilligan's Island, Ariel casts spells to music from the wicked witch section of "the Wizard of Oz," and other movie themes are added, including "Rocky," "Chariots of Fire," and "Jaws."

There are also bits of Aerosmith, Jim Morrison, Frank Sinatra and Neil Diamond.

"The Tempest, (kinda)" combines actors from the Nevada Shakespeare Company and the Gold Hill Theater Troupe, and will be performed at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday through Aug. 8 at the Gold Hill Hotel's outdoor gazebo on State Route 342.

Cost for Thursdays is $15 for general admission and $20 for reserved seating; for Fridays and Saturdays it is $25 for general admission and $30 for reserved. Call 847-0111.

- Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevada

appeal.com or call 881-7351.


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