WHITTIER – Río Hondo College’s lower quad played host to royal family members, a powerful sorceress and ethereal goddesses all brought to life in the Performing Arts Department’s open-air rendition of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”
The production, which ran from July 21 to 26 with close to capacity audiences each night, was directed by Anneliese Euler and William Korf and designed by Matt Schleicher. Euler said each production elicited many laughs and gasps.
“It is magical to see and do theater outdoors on a summer evening,” Euler said. “Thousands of years ago, all theater productions took place outdoors. It was often integrated into religious and cultural rituals. It is a wonderful opportunity to introduce the students to Shakespeare, and performing outdoors is an incredible workout for voice projection.”
Euler said she was impressed with her student actors, noting that they all took major chances in their performances by fully committing to their roles.
Theater arts major Barbara Ashly Velasquez played Antonio, the villainous usurper Duke of Milan and brother to the main character Prospera, said her greatest challenge was learning to play the role of a man and embody his vile spirit. Velasquez said Korf and Euler gave her the confidence she needed to find her voice.
“Antonio is very self-centered, rude, entitled and only cares about himself,” Velazquez said. “I am the opposite of him, so it was hard to be mean and act that way. But now he is my favorite character, and it gave me the chance to be a certain way without hurting anyone.”
Following the final performance, Euler thanked Río Hondo College’s administrators as well as the production’s designer, crew, staff and maintenance team for their assistance – saying that each play “takes a village” to create.
“Congratulations to our directors and student-actors for putting on such a spirited production – you made the entire College proud,” Superintendent/President Dr. Marilyn Flores said. “Río Hondo College prides itself in encouraging the arts and we hope that we sparked that passion in some of our audience members during this production.”
TEMPEST1: Río Hondo College’s Performing Arts Department performs William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” in the lower quad.
TEMPEST2: Prospera (performed by Marie Molina), releases the spell she has cast upon fellow actors Noah Baldwin, Okta Finata, Derick Gutierrez, Hiraeth He, Barbara Velasquez, and Bryan Vargas in the Río Hondo College Performing Arts Department’s production of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”