VU Theatre: ‘The Tempest’ now playing

Hannah Misner

On Tuesday Villanova University Theatre opened its second show of the season, William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” Yes, a Shakespeare play. But don’t let flashbacks of early-morning, monotone dialogues from your AP English class stop you from going. Music, choreography and even a change of setting distinctly separate the University’s rendition from traditional Shakespeare productions. Although the setting of the play is altered, it stays true to the themes of magic, revenge, redemption and power, all ingredients for an intriguing drama. The opportunity to see the play within the intimate atmosphere of Vasey Theatre allows the magic to spill off the stage and into the audience, engulfing it as well as the characters in the twisted reality of “The Tempest.”

Shakespeare’s original five-act play is set on a deserted island where Prospero and his daughter Miranda have lived ever since their exile from Milan. The play begins with a shipwreck on the same island, which we later learn was the result of a vengeful spell cast by Prospero.

The University’s production, however, is set in a mental institution instead of on an island, and Prospero is the director of the institution. Jessica DalCanton, who plays Miranda and also works in props, explained what sets this production apart from the typical Shakespeare play. Concerning the use of music and choreography, DalCanton said, “It is important to note that the music defies Shakespeare’s language barriers to a contemporary audience and only becomes ‘magical’ in the sense that it is the play-within-a-play.”

Jenny Jacobs, who is also an actress in the play, is the head choreographer.

DalCanton also highlighted the interaction of her character with the audience. “Just as the audience is experiencing this new reality, I experience it with them,” she said. Like the audience, she is only now becoming aware of her father’s magical powers and the warped reality that results.

“At some points I am practically in the audience’s lap,” DalCanton revealed. There are instances during the play where she physically separates herself from the stage in order to emphasize her disorientation and confusion toward the action of the play.

“The Tempest” runs through Nov. 19 in Vasey Theatre. Tickets can be purchased in the box office located in the lobby of Vasey Hall or by calling X9-7474 Monday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Embrace the opportunity to experience the talent and imagination of “The Tempest” on your own campus.