Loading

The Tempest Actors From The London Stage Spring 2020 Tour

The Actors From The London Stage residency at the University of Notre Dame is generously supported by the McMeel Family Endowment for Excellence for Actors From The London Stage, the Paul Eulau Endowment for Excellence for Actors From The London Stage, the Deborah J. Loughrey Endowment for Excellence in Shakespeare Studies, the D & J Smith Endowment for Shakespeare and Performance, the Office of the Provost, and the College of Arts and Letters.

THE AFTLS APPROACH

For most of his working life, William Shakespeare was a sharer in the King’s Men, London’s leading theatre company. He knew the actors he was writing for and collaborated with them on seeing the plays into performance.

All theatre is a collaboration, of course, and while actors can no longer collaborate directly with Shakespeare, the Actors From The London Stage (AFTLS) company always aims to work with him, respectfully and creatively, throughout the rehearsal process. Our company’s aim is to make his words exert their magic and their power in performance, but we do this in a vital, and perhaps unconventional, way. We have no massive sets to tower over the performers and no directorial concept to tower over the text of Shakespeare’s play. In fact, AFTLS does not have a director at all; instead, the play has been rehearsed by the actors, working together to create theatre, cooperating with each other in their imaginative engagement with the play’s words.

Now the actors ask you, the audience, to perform that same kind of imaginative engagement that Shakespeare was thinking about when, in the Prologue to Henry V, he instructed his spectators: “Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them, / Printing their proud hoofs i’ the receiving earth / For ’tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings.” Now the actors seek a new collaboration, working with you, the audience, in the way that only live theatre can. It is not a hard job for people to do, even though we are now used to having everything shown us on screen, and even though we usually no longer rely on the powers of imagination and collaboration to bring a play’s world into being. If you share the fun of collaborating with us, then the excitement of the performance will be richly rewarding for you and for the actors, for this special act of working together, actors and audience combined, marks the latest stage of that long journey The Tempest has made from Shakespeare’s writing the play with and for the actors he knew so well. So, tonight, watch and listen and “let us... / On your imaginary forces work.”

- Peter Holland, McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies, University of Notre Dame

THE PLAYERS

William Donaldson: Alonso/Stephano/Juno/Captain

David Rubin: Prospero/Antonio

Molly Vevers: Miranda/Ariel/Adrian/Ceres/Boatswain

Noel White: Caliban/Gonzalo/Iris

Arthur Wilson: Ferdinand/Sebastian/Trinculo

William Donaldson (Alonso / Stephano / Juno / Captain) trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He currently teaches at the British American Drama Academy as an Acting Tutor (Shakespeare), and has worked with The Royal National Theatre, The Young Shakespeare Company, and The Shakespeare Schools Festival as an actor and workshop facilitator. He has run Shakespeare workshops at institutions across the US, including the University of Notre Dame, Wellesley College, Howard University, Brandeis University, and American University. He is an artistic associate of Tucked In Productions (specialists in young people’s theatre and puppetry), and Beautiful Creatures Theatre Co. (a site-specific theatre company). Career highlights include RuPaul Charles in the Edinburgh Festival Award-winning production of Prom Kween (directed by Rebecca Humphries); The Diva in the award-winning international production Testosterone (Rhum & Clay); Boris in Boris Got Bu**ered (directed by Scott Le Crass); Friar Lawrence in Romeo & Juliet (Actors from the London Stage, US tour); and The Wicked Queen in Snow White (Old Vic Theatre, directed by Kirsty Patrick). Film credits include Captain Webb (Marathon Films, directed by Justin Hardy).

David Rubin (Prospero/Antonio)’s credits include Tamburlaine, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Antony and Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale, Julius Caesar (twice), Le Morte D’Arthur, Titus Andronicus, As You Like It, A Mad World My Masters, The Grain Store, American Trade, and rehearsed readings of The Castle and Split Second (Royal Shakespeare Company); People, Places & Things, The Threepenny Opera, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, Twelfth Night (twice), The Tempest, and The Red Balloon (National Theatre). In London's West End, his credits include Woyzeck (The Old Vic); the original West End Company of Five Guys Named Moe (Lyric); Stomp (Royal Festival Hall); and In The Midnight Hour (Young Vic). David has also worked extensively for many UK regional theatres and for Chicken Shed Theatre, for whom he acts, writes and directs. Film and television includes Judy (Calamity Films); Vera (ITV); Doctor Who (BBC); Brooms (Stomp); The Passion (HBO); Sitting Pretty, Dalziel and Pascoe, EastEnders, Holby City, Playdays, Zig-Zag, and Walking With Cavemen (BBC); Birds of a Feather (ITV); Mysteries of July and Good Health (Channel 4); The Block and Three Sheets to the Wind (DT Films); The DJ Kat Show (Sky); and Number 73 (ITV).

Molly Vevers (Miranda/Ariel/Adrian/Ceres/Boatswain) trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Theatre credits include Othello (English Touring Theatre); Nora in A Doll’s House (Citizens Theatre); Seanmhair (The Other Room, Cardiff/Edinburgh Festival); Ross & Rachel (Battersea Arts Centre, 59e59 Theaters New York, UK Tour); Jumpy (Edinburgh Lyceum Theatre); A First World Problem (Theatre503); The Sleeping Beauties (Sherman Cymru); Kora (Magnetic North/Dundee Rep); Time and the Conways (Edinburgh Lyceum Theatre/Dundee Rep); The Snow Queen (Dundee Rep); and She Town (Dundee Rep). Television and film credits include Doctors (BBC); Doors Open (ITV); Chubby Funny (Free Range Films/AimImage Productions); and Bittersweet (BFI Film Academy). Molly won the Stage Award for Acting Excellence 2015 for her performance in Ross & Rachel.

Noel White (Caliban/Gonzalo/Iris) trained at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama (Gold Medal Winner). This is Noel’s second AFTLS tour, having previously appeared in The Merchant of Venice in 2012. Other theatre includes Towards Zero, The Unexpected Guest, Spider’s Web, and The Hollow (The Mill at Sonning); Romeo & Juliet, The Legend of King Arthur, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Macbeth, and Hamlet (Guildford Shakespeare Company); Robin Hood, Merlin, The Gift & The Glory, Of Mice & Men, and Jason & The Argonauts (The Dukes, Lancaster); Grimm Tales (Theatre By The Lake, Keswick); Far From The Madding Crowd (ETT); A Christmas Carol, Measure For Measure, and As You Like It (Creation); The Ladykillers, The Comedy of Errors, Richard IV, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It (Northcott, Exeter); Bedroom Farce (Torch Theatre); Outside Edge (New Vic, Stoke); Harvest (Southwark Playhouse); The Dark Side and Great Expectations (Tours); and Romeo & Juliet and King Lear (Orange Tree). Television credits include Holby City, Empathy, Second Sight, Oscar Charlie, Other People’s Children, A Viking In My Bed, Hope & Glory, and Casualty (BBC); Coronation Street, Where The Heart Is, Crossroads, Footballer’s Wives, Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married, The Bill, Band of Gold, and Anna Lee (ITV), and Hollyoaks (Channel 4). Film credits include Pilgrim Factor and The Journey. Writing includes The Smilin’ State (Bristol Old Vic/ Hackney Empire).

Arthur Wilson (Ferdinand/Sebastian/Trinculo) trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama. Recent theatrical highlights include She Ventures and He Wins at the Young Vic Theatre; the world premiere of Genesis Inc. at the Hampstead Theatre; Things I Know to be True with Frantic Assembly; Persuasion at the Royal Exchange Theatre; Richard II at Shakespeare’s Globe; Man & Superman at the National Theatre; The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, and Twelfth Night with Propeller; Hard Times, If I Were You and Tom’s Midnight Garden with the Library Theatre; Peter Pan with ThreeSixty productions, in London and on tour in the US. Arthur’s television credits include Sea of Souls and Call the Midwife (BBC); and Law & Order: UK (ITV and BBC America). Arthur is on the faculty of Freelance Practitioners at Fourth Monkey Actor Training Company in London, where he teaches on both the Shakespeare and Contemporary Scenes modules. This is Arthur’s first tour with AFTLS.

THE STORY

Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan and an expert in the arts of magic, lives on an island with his daughter, Miranda. Twelve years earlier, his brother, Antonio, and Alonso, the King of Naples, conspired to usurp his throne. They set Prospero and Miranda adrift in a boat, and they eventually found themselves marooned on the island. Prospero is served on his island by Ariel, a spirit whom he freed from the tree where Ariel had been imprisoned by the witch Sycorax, and by Caliban, Sycorax’s son. As the play begins, Prospero has learned that a ship bearing his old enemies is sailing near the island and has instructed Ariel to create a storm. As Prospero wishes, Airel ensures that the survivors of the apparent shipwreck make it to shore in scattered groups. One survivor is Ferdinand, the son of Alonso. He is lured to Prospero’s abode by the singing of Ariel; there he meets Miranda, who is enthralled with the young prince.

Meanwhile, Antonio, Alonso, Alonso’s brother Sebastian, and Gonzalo, an honest councillor, wander the island in search of Ferdinand. Antonio now plots with Sebastian to murder Alonso, but this plot is thwarted by Ariel. Elsewhere on the island, Stephano, Alonso’s butler, and Trinculo, his jester, encounter Caliban. After sharing a few drinks, Caliban enlists the two in a plot to kill Prospero and rule the island. He even promises Miranda to Stephano. Ariel, however, reports all these goings-on to Prospero. In the meantime, Miranda and Ferdinand pledge their troth to each other.

Prospero has Ariel create a magical banquet for Alonso and Antonio that vanishes when they try to eat. He also sends Ariel in the guise of a harpy to hound them for their crimes against Prospero and make Antonio, Sebastian and Alonso insane. Later, at a masque to celebrate the betrothal of Miranda and Ferdinand, Prospero remembers Caliban’s plot and abruptly calls the revels to a halt. He sends Ariel to punish them as well; the spirit does so by first luring them with some fancy clothes, then setting other island spirits upon them in the shape of hunting dogs that chase them around the island.

Finally, Prospero confronts his brother and Alonso, revealing his true identity as the rightful Duke of Milan. He demands that Antonio restore his throne; he also rebukes Sebastian for plotting against his own brother. To Alonso, he reveals Ferdinand alive and well, playing chess with Miranda. As a final act, Prospero abandons his magic and releases Ariel and Caliban from their servitude. From Ariel, Prospero asks for one last boon: calm seas and favorable winds for their trip back to Naples.

- Peter Holland, McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies, University of Notre Dame

ABOUT ACTORS FROM THE LONDON STAGE

Actors From The London Stage is a national outreach program of Shakespeare at Notre Dame. Shakespeare at Notre Dame consists of the McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies, the Shakespeare in Prisons Network, the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, Actors From The London Stage, ancillary lectures and events, and library collections. Shakespeare at Notre Dame’s mission is to serve as a pre-eminent venue for the study and performance of the works of Shakespeare, providing Notre Dame and the wider community with an on-campus culture steeped in the works of William Shakespeare — both on the page and on the stage.

Founder: Homer Swander

Academic Director: Peter Holland

Founding Directors: Tony Church, Lisa Harrow, Bernard Lloyd. Sir Patrick Stewart

Associate Directors: David Acton, Bruce Alexander, Peter Bray, Matthew Davies, Caroline Devlin, Tim Hardy, Evvy Miller, Richard Neale, Paul O’Mahony, Michael Palmer, Eunice Roberts, Alison Skilbeck, Chris Staines, Lucy Tregear, Jack Whitam, Jennifer Winter, Alinka Wright

Emeritus: Gareth Armstrong, David Rintoul, Vivien Heilbron

ABOUT SHAKESPEARE AT NOTRE DAME

Actors From The London Stage is a national outreach program of Shakespeare at Notre Dame. Shakespeare at Notre Dame consists of the McMeel Family Chair in Shakespeare Studies, the Shakespeare in Prisons Network, the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, Actors From The London Stage, ancillary lectures and events, and library collections. Shakespeare at Notre Dame’s mission is to serve as a pre-eminent venue for the study and performance of the works of Shakespeare, providing Notre Dame and the wider community with an on-campus culture steeped in the works of William Shakespeare — both on the page and on the stage.

Mary Irene Ryan Family Executive Director: Scott Jackson

General Manager: Debra Gasper

Audience Development Manager: Jason Comerford

Ryan Producing Artistic Director for the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival: Grant Mudge