Tackling Shakespeare is a challenge for any stage actor.
But that isn't stopping Columbia Basin College drama teacher Ginny Quinley from pushing her actors in the upcoming production The Tempest, which opens Nov. 11 in the CBC theater.
"Doing Shakespeare is always a challenge," she said. "Almost like speaking another language."
And her cast of young student actors were all new to The Bard's work.
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The Tempest is a magical play from the moment the curtain rises.
The story centers around Prospero, the exiled duke of Milan, who is set adrift by his jealous brother Antonio and stranded for 12 years on a remote island with his 3-year-old daughter Miranda.
The years on the island earned Prospero special powers when he rescued the magical sprite Ariel from a tree where she had been entombed by an evil witch.
But as fate would have it, revenge is sweet when Prospero causes a huge tempest to crash down upon a ship carrying his traitorous brother that sails by his island prison.
As is characteristic of many Shakespearean plays, the moral of this story runs deep into forgiveness.
Travis Franks, 19, portrays Prospero, and he is loving every thee-and-thou moment of portraying Prospero.
"My character in particular, I was drawn to for the fatherly aspect behind it," Franks said. "While the dialogue is difficult, learning it effectively and the real emotions behind each line makes you think about your character a lot more, and that's rewarding."
Amanda Johnston, 20, who plays the spunky sprite Ariel, is performing in her first Shakespeare play.
"What isn't interesting about this play!" she exclaimed. "When I heard last year that the fall play was going to be The Tempest, I was freaking out because there is always this thought that Shakespeare is impossible not only to understand but to act from as well. But I was pleasantly mistaken."
Quinley directs the drama and Ronn Campbell is handling all the magical light and set design.
"A fun aspect about The Tempest is that it serves as the basis of a lot of movies and stories today," Quinley said. "Prospero's magic and his magical coat are strangely similar to that of Dumbledore in Harry Potter. And Lord of the Rings bears some similarities as well. Even Pirates of the Caribbean has some things in common with this play."
And even though The Tempest is initially about vengeance, Quinley said, Prospero's discovery of forgiveness holds a universal message of goodness.
Other key roles in the production are played by Drew Tolley as Antonio, Jennifer Reed as Miranda and Hugh McAllister as Caliban.
Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11-12, 18-19 with a 3 p.m. matinee Nov. 17 in the CBC theater on the Pasco campus.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at Adventures Underground in Richland, J.D.'s Time Center in Kennewick or at the door.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org