Take Note Troupe stages "The Tempest" in Auburn
Audiences are sure to get swept away this spring as Take Note Troupe kicks off performances of “The Tempest.”
The storm begins Saturday with a State Theater performance that benefits the Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center. The Loomis troupe also stages the show for free June 2 outside at Auburn’s Garden Theater.
LaRee Florence, TNT founder and artistic director, said that performing Shakespeare’s plays outside is a tradition that began when the playwright was still alive. While people mainly associate Shakespeare with the Globe Theatre, his company also traveled to other towns, where they set up a stage outside.
“As a director, it’s really fun,” Florence said of “The Tempest.” “He references magic in the play, and I think he was really aware of the stage magic, the stagecraft. I wanted to try and replicate some of that magic.”
“The Tempest,” the Bard’s last solo work, weaves the tale of a sorceress banished long ago to an island along with her daughter, Miranda. When a ship carrying those who threw her out of power passes by, she raises the tempest, crashing the ship onto the island.
“The Tempest” was the impetus for Florence founding Take Note Troupe – she helped her daughter and friends stage the play in the backyard after they expressed an interest in Shakespeare.
The TNT staging includes a significant change to the main role of Prospero.
“In Shakespeare, it’s actually a dude, but in ours it’s played by a girl so we had to change it around,” said Anna Solomon, 17, of Auburn, who plays Prospera’s daughter.
The sorceress is played by 18-year-old Rachel Hodgson, of Rocklin, who just graduated from Horizon Charter School.
“I think it adds an interesting layer,” Hodgson said of the gender switch. “It adds a lot of maternal instinct, whereas it used to just be a father-daughter relationship – mother-daughter relationships are a little bit different.”
Rounding out the cast is an array of young actors playing sprites, sailors, princes, natives and drunkards. Six girls will play the role of Ariel, a sprite indebted to Prospera, who freed her from the tree she was imprisoned in by a witch.
Auburn’s Becca Rowland and McKenzie Little play Ariel. “The Tempest” is both girls’ first foray into live Shakespeare.
“It’s amazing,”?Rowland said. “I’m totally in love with the language, and I think it’s really awesome how we can find such deeper meanings than just in plays that you would find today.”
As the drama unfolds on the island, “The Tempest” explores themes of vengeance, jealousy, ro-mance and forgiveness. Although it was written 400 years ago, “The Tempest” is still relevant today, Little said.
“When you compare humanity then and humanity now, it’s the same things they’re dealing with.”
The troupe has staged two previous APPAC fundraisers, in addition to several performances there throughout the year.
“They are truly fun,” said Janis Wikoff, State Theater executive director. “I just hope that lots of young people will come, because it’s impossible to describe the value of watching their performances. You really have to be here. Young, old, it doesn’t matter how much you think you have seen Shakespeare – you haven’t seen TNT’s version of Shakespeare.”
When: 4 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 26
Where: State Theater, 985 Lincoln Way, Auburn
Cost: $10 adults;
$7 children 13
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, June 2