Thomas Dale High School will present an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” at Henricus Historical Park on April 1, 2, and 3 at 3:00 p.m. each day. The play is being presented in celebration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Sir Thomas Dale in the Virginia colony and his founding of the settlement at Henricus. Most scholars agree that Shakespeare wrote his play after reading an account of the shipwreck of the Sea Venture when it was caught in a hurricane as it brought settlers to the Virginia colony.
The Thomas Dale students are taking an unusual approach to the play. “We are imagining what the play would be like if it had been put on by the settlers at Henricus themselves. It was, after all, their play – the story of the hurricane they survived,” said director Becki Jones. The Europeans in the play will be costumed in an Elizabethan style. The spirits in the play, inhabitants of the island before the Europeans arrived, will be portrayed as Native Americans.
“To the settlers encountering the Native Americans for the first time, the Native Americans would have seemed as alien as martians to us. We think they might have copied the style of dress they saw to costume their ‘mystical spirits,’” said Jones.
Students have been rehearsing outdoors as often as possible, both in a courtyard at the school and at the park itself. The “stage” for the play will be the bluff overlooking the James River. The play is set on an island, and the panoramic view from the bluff will make audience members feel as if they are on the island with the characters.
Appearing in this production will be Julia Lattimer as Prospero, Helena Schantz as Miranda, Eric Evans as Ferdinand, Kareem Olajuwan as Caliban, Lex McGregor as Alonso, Jabriyel Banks as Antonio, Crystal Childress as Sebastian, Adrienne Davis as Stefano, Reid Kirtley as Trinculo, and Courtney Merkle as Gonzalo.
The production is a collaboration between several departments. Arts students have been making a variety of masks for the “spirits” to wear during several magical scenes. Music students will be providing sound effects, and playing a piece called “The Tempest” before the Saturday performance.
The park is located just off Rt.10 at 251 Henricus Park Rd. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, picnic blankets, and food to enjoy their picnic during the play. Tickets are $10.00 and will be available at the gate. For more information, call (804) 768-6245 ext. 762.