Fresh from the Old Miners’ Bathhouse in Blackball, Kiwi/Possum Productions (Greymouth), DramaLAB (Golden Bay) and Free Theatre (Christchurch) bring William Shakespeare’s The Tempest to Waldheim, Seven Oaks.
Directed by Peter Falkenberg and Heather Fletcher with design by Pam McKelvey and featuring Paul Maunder as Prospero, Jason Johnson as Caliban, Finn Gestro-Best as Ariel, and Diva Baanvinger Singh as Miranda.
This Tempest is conceived as performed by a comedia dell‘arte travelling troupe with their director Prospero trying to control the proceedings. But some of his actors are not always capable or willing to hold the high dramatic tone that a Shakespearian performance demands. The actors‘ rebellion is led by his comic lead actor Caliban, who is trying to throw some spanners in the works. The recent controversy about Shakespeare as an English imperialist writer that should not be supported financially by an anticolonialist country like New Zealand might also be reflected by the struggle that our acting troupe finds itself in.
This cross-coastal community collaboration began when Free Theatre travelled to Blackball to work on a production of Beckett’s Endgame (2021). Free Theatre Manager Marian McCurdy says: “These community collaborations are created quickly in just eight days of working together in the glorious open-air ruins of the miners' bathhouse. The last summer we worked here it rained every day. We’ll see what tempest we can conjure this time.”