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"O, wonder!..."

Sunday 09 August 2020

"O, wonder!..."


The west coast sunset will provide the backdrop for a new local theatre group's premiere performance, in an open-air retelling of one of Shakespeare's most beloved tales.

Music Theatre Guernsey will bring The Tempest to life in the gardens of St Peter's Church this month, in a production that's accessible for all ages.

Director Darren Alderton hopes it will help the audience truly understand and connect with Shakespeare's text, while enjoying live, outdoor theatre - as the play would have originally been performed.

"'Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature' - Hamlet.

"These are the words that play over and over in my head as we piece together an all accessible production of Tempest," said Mr Alderton.

the tempest music theatre Guernsey

Pictured: The cast have been rehearsing outside to prepare for changes in weather.

"How will everyone be able to understand the text? How can we tweak unknown language to suit the modern ear? How can we do so without offending the Shakespeare purists?

"I think, no matter what art you view, we do so with our own life experiences behind us. For those new to Shakespeare, we hope this production is a gateway to a wider diet of theatre. For those with a well-trained ear, we hope our production returns you to the moment you first gave an ear to Shakespeare's swansong."

The gardens will open from 18:00 ahead of each performance, so audiences can enjoy a picnic or a glass of wine before the entertainment gets underway, and fresh food will be available from Stephano's Pizza.

"Using St Peter's Church garden as the background to this production is truly mesmerising," Darren added. "You can sit there and be entertained for two hours without anything happening at all; it is beauty in its most natural form. Add in some stunning poetic writing, the developing relationships between Miranda and the men she meets, the passion and drive of Prospero and a cluster of comedy slapstick, and the ticket price seems like a pittance!

the tempest music theatre Guernsey

"Not that outdoor theatre comes without its challenges. From projection to keeping characters honest through the elements, prodding The Tempest has been a tough one. We have deliberately had the majority of our rehearsals outside so the cast can get used to performing in all weather and we have three contingency plans ready incase it rains. However, as [cast member] Scott Riseborough has said many a time, 'it's raining for 95% of the play anyway - it's just like 4D cinema'."

Michelle Brady has taken on the challenge of leading the stage crew, which just happens to be made up of all female members.

"I knew I was only needing a very small crew as the set design is cleverly constructed to minimalist long scene changes," she explained. "With this in mind, I approached and was approached by a small crew. The fact we are all female does add to the uniqueness of the show.

"The joy of a small crew is it is easy to manage and organise. I am sure it is going to be a lot of fun backstage as we create a spectacular outdoor show."

The show will run from 25 to 29 August, with a matinee on the Saturday. Tickets are £10 and can be bought via mtgsy.gg/book.

Pictured top: The cast of the The Tempest.

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