The Tempest

September 8

November 8, 2015

in CST's Courtyard Theater

by William Shakespeare
adapted & directed by Aaron Posner and Teller
songs by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan
choreography by Matt Kent, Pilobolus

Critical Acclaim

Highly recommended... Every element of the story comes wrapped in a “spell” of some sort, from the music (a brilliant use of the songs of Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan), to the movement (a monster formed with the interlocking bodies of two dancer-acrobats from Pilobolus), to the design (Daniel Conway’s beautiful set), to the actual acts of prestidigation designed by Johnny Thompson (including a levitation, a head-twisting body box and more). But best of all are the actors, who possess a sublime magic of their own, and find a way to turn all this artful “illusion” into profound emotional truth. Larry Yando, an actor with a sublimely subtle way with language, an exquisite wit, and a flair for lightning fast mood shifts, also understands that a heart revealed slowly over time has the greatest impact. He is a master. Yando is winningly paired here with Nate Dendy, a wisp of a fellow with eerily intense eyes, magically articulate fingers and a sense of movement that makes you feel he is riding a current of air. Magic personified. ” Read full review

“Enormously entertaining…gorgeously performed.
Every "Tempest" you ever saw with half-baked bits of magic will drop away when you catch sight of the full-blooded illusions created by Teller. No Ariel of anyone's imagination has ever so embraced the sleight of hand, and, better yet, Nate Dendy is one of those rare magicians who understands the art's need for a high-stakes arc and, yet more crucially, an underpinning of emotional need. His is the best Ariel I've ever seen, and I've seen a few.”

“Imaginative and enchanting!
Sleight-of-hand as well as larger illusions dominate this beguiling reinvention of Shakespeare's tale of love and forgiveness. And the magic isn't confined to tricks, it extends to the performances as well, starting with Larry Yando's astutely crafted Prospero. The savage Caliban, played by dancer-actors Zach Eisenstat and Manelich Minniefee, in one of the most arresting performances you're likely to see onstage this season. Choreographed by Matt Kent, their athletic, tandem performance is an impressive display of grace and strength.

Chicago Stage Standard
The best that Chicago’s cultural scene has to offer: a dream team of creative collaborators doing beautiful work, an ensemble of skilled actors bringing a solid classic story to life, an immersive transformational experience for the audience. If you are looking for a ticket that will have you fall in love with going to the theatre, see this Tempest. ”

Time Out Chicago
 The illusions may be impossible, but the magic is real. Neatly trimmed, fast paced and with fascinating arrangements of Waits’s songs performed by an onstage band, this rethinking is a near perfect storm. The production cleverly integrates Teller-designed illusions that tend toward the old-school, appropriate matches for Daniel Conway’s set design, which suggests a crumbling vaudeville theatre. From the musicians (collectively and cleverly referred to in the program as “Rough Magic”) to the flawlessly executed tricks, this “Tempest” can be so visually and aurally absorbing you almost forget to pay attention to the words.

Chicago Reader
Chicago Shakespeare Theater's staging of The Tempest was hotly anticipated on fall preview lists, everybody getting worked up over its various components. It turns out we were right to get excited. Visually striking and plenty of fun... Everything is grounded in motive and struggle and interaction. Nothing exists merely to make us say wow—though plenty does.

An illusion-fueled marvel that evokes both the retro-charms of a vaudeville act and the big-budget spectacle of a Vegas extravaganza… This Tempest is a storm of sheer magic, and one you'll want to revel in.

Around the Town
A magical experience… Even people who are not fond of attending Shakespeare productions will find themselves in awe.

Chicago Stage Standard
It’s clear from the start how seamlessly acts of magic can be incorporated into this story. Add to this a soundtrack of atmospheric Tom Waits music performed and sung by live musicians and the bizarrely innovative choreography from modern dance collective Pilobolus and Chicago Shakespeare has got a truly Shakespearean spectacle on their hands.


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