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Pittsburgh Public Theater’s ‘The Tempest’ brings modern perspective to a dated play

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Pittsburgh Public Theater’s ‘The Tempest’ brings modern perspective to a dated play

Rachel Stofanak, Features Editor

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The Pittsburgh Public Theater’s current version of Shakespeare’s classic play The Tempest reminds the audience that even old stories are alive today.

In the original tale, the main character, Prospero, endures the betrayal of his brother, who conspires with the king to usurp his dukedom. Director Marya Sea Kaminsky reimagined the bard’s story to make it feel more applicable to today, starring a female Prospero who suffers from breast cancer and feels betrayed by her family, who left her in her time of need.

Tamara Tunie, starring as Prospero, gives an incredible performance. Prospero drifts into an illness-induced dream set on an island, where she can plan to exact her revenge on her family, Tunie powerfully portrays the helplessness Prospero feels segueing into control as she dreams about a world where she is a powerful magician.

Starring an all-female cast, the play reminds viewers that while Shakespeare lived centuries ago, the emotions that drive his plays apply just as much today. Many viewers can sympathize with Prospero’s conflict between feelings of revenge and forgiveness, and they can laugh at the drunkenness of the minor characters.

The performance is also a greatly revised version of Shakespeare’s text, cutting the run time in half. However, it manages to retain its emotional impact without much of the text.

In addition, the set features a rotating centerpiece that can transform a hospital into an island in seconds. The effects make the magic feel as real as the emotions.

With a rich, diverse cast that fills an old play with emotions and magic, The Tempest portrays Shakespeare in a way that even those who dislike his plays in high school can enjoy.

 

About the Writer
Rachel Stofanak, Features Editor

Rachel is a senior Features Editor for the Purbalite. She spends her summers living in the woods and going by the nickname Echo and her school years doing...

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Pittsburgh Public Theater’s ‘The Tempest’ brings modern perspective to a dated play