The following article appeared in the Amherst Bulletin,
Amherst, Mass. on Friday, July 28, 2000.
'The Tempest,' take two
Photo by Gordon Daniels
Hampshire Shakespeare's Young
Company takes the stage
By RACHAEL DEVANEY, Bulletin Intern
SAILORS, Sprites, and magical storms have charmed
audiences in Hampshire Shakespeare Company's production of "The Tempest,"
this summer. And when the troupe's Young Company takes the stage
this weekend, area audiences will have another opportunity to see Shakespeare's
tale of magical island machinations.
The Hampshire Shakespeare Young Company, featuring
local actors ages 10-17, will perform its version of "The Tempest," July
28-30 at 7 p.m., outdoors at The Hartsbrook School in Hadley. The
cast of 20 will be directed by Laura Eden-Patnode.
Throughout the summer, the young actors have been
performing in the mainstage production in the roles of sprites and spirits,
and understudying the adult actors. Young Company Coordinator Stephen
Eldredge and "Tempest" Director Andrew Lichtenberg instructed members of
the Young Company in stagecraft and performance discipline. "I assisted
Andy to direct them in their scenes," said Eldredge. "We have been
able to focus the teen actors, and they have ended up asking the kind of
questions that actors need to ask."
Through this apprenticeship program, Eldredge
says, not only do the young actors get valuable experience, but the mainstage
production benefits as well.
"In summer theater, people come and go, missing
rehearsals, etc.," said Eldredge. "So this way, the Young Company
got a chance to stand in for some of the actors they were understudying.
It helped the rehearsal process a great deal."
The idea of producing this second series of performances
of "The Tempest" is rooted in the Shakespearean-era tradition of "Boy Companies,"
which flourished in England from 1599 to 1610. At the time, adult
theater companies and youth groups had intense rivalries and competitions
to perform in London.
Hampshire Shakespeare Company looks to this theatrical
tradition as a way of encouraging young people to develop performance skills
and enjoy Shakespeare as live theater.
According to Sarah Wilson, the season producer,
everyone involved in these two productions has learned something.
"All of the adults were enriched by the relationship with the kids," she
said. "It was a very exciting process for everyone."
On the last night of the mainstage production,
the adult actors ceremonially gave parts of their costumes to the members
of the Young Company who would be taking over their roles. Ed Dunn
handed down Prospero's staff and books, the source of the wizard's power,
to Nicholas Lichtenberg, 16.
"I think Prospero is one of the greatest Shakespearean
roles," Lichtenberg said. "I'm really sinking my teeth into a great
He said the summer gave him a real sense of what
performing in a production entails. "I had to memorize 18 pages of
lines, and this has made me develop a real work ethic."
Cindy Mathews, 16, who will be playing Stefano,
agrees that while the challenges were many, the rewards have also been
"I really loved being a part of this program,"
she said. "I love the Hampshire Shakespeare Company and I love Shakespeare.
I want to do this for a long, long time."
Tickets to Hampshire Shakespeare's Young Company's
production of "The Tempest" are $5, available at the door at The Hartsbrook
School at 193 Bay Road, Hadley.