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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

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U Theatre’s ‘The Tempest’: Brimming with Talent and Fantastic Production Value

The U’s production of “The Tempest” is absolutely fantastic and well worth a watch.
(Courtesy of the U of U Theatre Department)


The sound of waves hitting a shore drift through the Babcock Theatre as people file in to watch the University of Utah Department of Theatre’s production of “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare, which will run through Nov. 19. 

The play follows the noblewoman Prospera, a magician who fled to the shores of a mystical island with her daughter after being betrayed by her family. Years later, the same people that betrayed Prospera find themselves shipwrecked on the shore of Prosepera’s island. 

The U’s production of “The Tempest” is spectacular. Chilling sound effects and awe-inspiring visuals accentuate the compelling performance of the entire cast.

A Shipwreck 

Fog shrouds the set and screams echo through the theater in the opening scene of the play — a shipwreck. Prospera, (Kirsten Henriquez), watches the panic of those on board as her spirit servant, Ariel (Laurel Morgan), summons the storm. Ariel sings a haunting melody as eerie growls and breaths are muttered by the other spirits of the island. The powerful scene engulfs the theater in chaos. 

The production value in the first scene sets a precedent for effects that the play consistently lives up to. The cast of island spirits, played by Audrey Pan, Zachary Harvey, Tessa Jones and Tyler Van Oostendorp constantly glide throughout the stage, whispering or knocking. Their sound effects make the set feel alive in a way that’s intriguing, uncomfortable and undoubtedly mystic. 

The cast of the play frequently run up and down the stairs next to the audience’s seats, surrounding viewers in action. Moody light changes and the various uses of props put the cherry on top of an enticing show. 

A Compelling Cast

Morgan puts on a fantastic performance full of nuance and personality as Ariel. Her voice is as mesmerizing as it is haunting whenever she starts singing. Her body looks almost fluid as she moves about the stage. Ariel’s humor is outweighed only by her loyalty, and Morgan beautifully balances both in her portrayal. 

Henriquez’s presence onstage is commanding. She is as harsh as she is regal and demands the eyes of the audience. Henriquez wonderfully captures Prospera’s character, who’s shielded by a cold exterior but driven by love. Prospera’s tender tendencies shine in her interactions with her daughter, Miranda. 

Natalie Ruthven, who plays Miranda, is perfect for the role. She takes the stage with genuine curiosity and an innocence that permeates through her every action and word. Ruthven is delightful to watch and charms the audience with her playful approach to the role. 

Miranda’s lover, Ferdinand, is played by Isacc Martinez-Trinidad. Martinez-Trinidad employs a boyish clumsiness to the character of Ferdinand, creating a goofy personability that you can’t help but root for. 

Caro Ciet as Trinculo, True Leavitt as Caliban and Cade Freiermuth as Stephano all put on quirky and eccentric performances that make the trio of drinking buddies odd but always entertaining to watch.

Ingabile Debora as Alonso and Emily Tatum as Gonzalo both approach their roles with a soft grace that embellishes their regality. The quiet cunning of Akina Yamazaki as Antonio creates a mysterious personality. Hannah Ekstrom, who plays Sebastian, is full of wit which accentuates the at times insufferable conniving nature of the character.

The U’s production of “The Tempest” is absolutely fantastic and well worth a watch.


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About the Contributor
Josi Hinds, Arts Writer
Josi Hinds is in her second year at the University of Utah, majoring in communications with a minor in both gender studies and Spanish (for now). She grew up in Bozeman, Montana, and moved to Salt Lake in hopes of venturing out in the world and meeting new people. She joined the Chronicle out of a love for writing and meeting new people, and she hopes to share stories that broaden both her and others' perspective on the world

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