Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Features · Interlochen Shakespeare...
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Interlochen Shakespeare Festival focuses on magic and romance

Ross Boissoneau - June 16th, 2014  

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” So says Prospero in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

The idea of a Shakespeare Festival at Interlochen once was but a dream. This year’s presentation of The Tempest marks the seventh year for the festival.

“We said, ‘Let’s try this and see if it works.’ It did work. We’ve been able to keep it going and grow,” says Laura Middlestaedt, who is directing The Tempest.

Middlestaedt has been part of the festival since its inception. She’s previously acted and worked alongside Bill Church, who directed the previous six plays at the festival.

Now the tables are turned, as Church will be bringing Prospero to life under Middlestaedt’s direction.

“He was ready to hand off the keys to someone else,” she says.

The Tempest is set on a remote island, where Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her lawful place. Prospero’s brother Antonio, conspiring with Alonso, the King of Naples, usurped his position.

Prospero and Miranda were left to die on a raft at sea, but they made their way to the island, where they have lived for 12 years. When his enemies pass nearby, Prospero uses his magical powers to call up the title storm in order to exact his revenge upon his enemies. His machinations bring about the revelation of Antonio’s true nature, the redemption of the King, and the marriage of Miranda to Alonso’s son, Ferdinand.

The Tempest incorporates romance, peril, comedy, abduction, revenge, action, and magic.

Middlestaedt says the play uses all those elements to define the characters, their motivations and how they interact. “It tends to peel back the layers of people,” she says. “It’s often called a romance but it’s hard to categorize.”

She says the play is a contrast to last season’s production of Hamlet. The tale of the doomed Danish prince is a tragedy in which practically everyone dies. The Tempest is much lighter in tone, though it still has its dark moments.

“It’s a lighter play but it strikes a balance. It has characters who are complex,” she says.

Middlestaedt was excited about the opportunity to direct the play. She played Prospero’s magical aide Ariel in a production of The Tempest ten years ago and says the play remains one of her favorites.

“When you are first introduced to a play it makes a big impression,” she says. “It’s a play that stuck with me.”

Middlestaedt says she’s also thrilled to work with set designer Edward Morris, who has been designing for plays in New York City. He’s also an Interlochen alum.

Tom Childs, a current faculty member at Interlochen, is composing original music for the play. “There are songs in the play, and I asked Tom to create some more for it,” she says.

“What’s past is prologue.” Antonio’s plea to his friend Sebastian is meant to suggest that all that has happened to this point has set the stage for Antonio and Sebastian to make their own destinies.

Much the same is true of the Shakespeare Festival. Middlestaedt believes its success over the past six years has set it up for further growth.

“We’ll truly be a festival when we have more than one play going,” says Middlestaedt. “In the future we’ll have others going, which will offer comprehensive experience for alumni and educational opportunities for students.”

Middlestaedt says being able to stage the play outside is another step toward creating a true festival.

“Before it was in the Harvey Theatre. We kept selling out. Now we’re in a large outdoor facility, and can accommodate more people,” she says.

“Being outdoors gives it more potential for growth.”

The Tempest runs June 26-July 5. For tickets and performance times, go to Interlochen.org.

 
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