The Tempest (1611) is popularly believed to be the final piece written for the stage under the sole authorship of William Shakespeare. Some people think he saved the best for last. You can see it now, free of charge, as the Dean Productions Theatre Company presents it at Brand Park, in Glendale, through Oct. 20, 2018.
This great romantic comedy has it all: danger, intrigue, politics, revenge, magic, a mighty sorcerer, young love, and forgiveness. At Brand Park, the Bard’s famous sorcerer, Prospero, is played nicely by Jennipher Lewis. As in her case, the production includes other non-traditional gender-cross casting.
The cast is complete with Nick Gallagher, Tuesday Grant, Susannah Snowden-Ifft, Philip Sokoloff, Julia Stier, and Caitlin Stoodley, directed by Rebecca Lynne, the founder of the company. The actors periodically interact with the audience, keeping the ambiance light and friendly. Their costumes are simple and every actor portrays multiple characters, differentiating one from the next with a hat or a face mask. For that reason, I feel this production is better enjoyed by those who know the play well and can pick up on the character switches with ease.
The outdoor set-up at Brand Park, right across from the gorgeous Brand Library and Arts Center, is casual. You are encouraged to bring blankets or low back chairs, which can be arranged in a semi-circle around the designated stage area. You can also bring food and drink. No fancy clothing is needed, but you should bring a jacket to keep warm, as the evenings are sometimes cool. Families are welcome.
It all makes for a relaxed evening of theater. The Company works with children that are fighting cancer, and with their help they have written a short play that you will see prior to the main performance.
The Tempest will play five more times – on Friday, Oct. 12; Saturday, Oct. 13; Thursday, Oct. 18; Friday, Oct. 19; and Saturday, Oct. 20. All performances are at 7:30 pm. There is no admission fee, but donations will be encouraged and accepted after the performance. There’s plenty of free parking in the park.
Brand Park is located at 1601 W. Mountain St., in Glendale, CA 91201. Find more information at deanproductionstheatre.com