‘Magic’ modernizes Shakespeare

Tyler Turcotte

Staff Writer

Coming soon to a Little Theater near you is a reimagining of epic proportions. “Rough Magic”, by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and directed by candidate for graduation Heather Porter, takes characters from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and places them in modern day Manhattan. In this magical meta-universe the evil sorcerer Prospero seeks to recover his stolen book of magic at any cost.

Thankfully, New York is prepared with a cast of unlikely heroes. Led by Melanie Porter (rising senior Laura Campbell), a reluctant magician with the ability to free characters from plays, the heroes consist of Chet Baxter (rising junior Tony Del Grosso), a 17-year-old Coney Island lifeguard, Caliban (candidate for graduation Joseph Underwood), Prospero’s hunky but dim-witted son, and Tisiphone (candidate for graduation Julion Cowen), a vengeful Fury from Ancient Greece.

These are just a few of the characters that make up the wildly varied and extensive cast of the play. No doubt, this will be a lot to take in at once, for both the audience and the performers.

“Putting [“Rough Magic”] up on the stage has proven at times to be difficult, but we love artistic challenges,” said Campbell.

The challenging combination of Shakespearean drama with the style of modern action-packed blockbusters is guaranteed to create an enjoyable performance for all. But if the synopsis above sounds a bit too nerdy to your tastes, don’t let it drive you away.

“Admittedly, the play is nerdy. But I don’t think that aspect should deter people from attending. It also has elements of romance, horror, action, and satire. Really it has everything that a play could ever hope to have. It has something for everyone, no matter who you are,” said Campbell.

The idea of putting a play of this scale together in the three weeks of May Term might seem insane, but this is actually a very realistic expectation for a professional theater company.

“On the one hand, it is a lot more stressful, because we literally have three weeks to rehearse and get everything done, so it’s really high-stakes,” said Campbell. “But on the other hand, most of us aren’t doing anything else to distract us. We can rehearse for seven hours every day of the week because there are no other demands on our time, which is actually how it is usually done in the professional world, which is pretty cool. This really gives us a good idea of what it’s like to rehearse for summer stock or other professional theatre opportunities.”

So wake up, those who fainted from the mere idea of doing anything for seven hours a day in May Term, and mark May 17 through May 20 on your calendars to support your hard working friends and to see this glorious amalgamation of a play at 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on the 17-19, and 2 to p.m. on the May 20 for only $10.


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