A friend suggested that I may enjoy going to see The Tempest on Saturday evening – a free (donations welcome) performance of Shakespeare put on by the Portland Actors Ensemble and staged on the Lovejoy Fountain in downtown Portland.
I wasn’t expecting too much, but I have to admit it, it was one of the best shows that I have been to and perhaps the best Shakespeare that I can remember! Even better news is that you haven’t missed your chance to see it as they will have performances on the 14th, 15th and 16th of July at 7pm.
The Lovejoy fountain is one of the fountains in Portland that has no green in it. It is a series of cascades over concrete steps arranged to represent the flowing of water in a stream into lakes or the ocean. For the performance, the water was turned off and they used the entire fountain – including the large pond – to its fullest potential.
While the performance starts at 7pm, you want to be there at least ½ hour before the start with your blankets, chairs, picnic dinner and whatever else you need to make you comfortable. Then sit back relax and enjoy the show.
Two actors in particular stole the show. The first was Trinculo, a jester played by Phillip J. Berns. He started the show with some wonderful over acting in order to get the crowd in the mood and to set the stage for what was to be a performance where the cast really looked as if they were enjoying themselves as much as the audience. He also looked as if he had done extensive research in playing a drunk fool. Thanks for making me smile.
But then there was Ariel, an airy spirit, played by Kristen Martz. What a pleasure. She used the stage in it’s entirely, looking in on the action and even when she was not the center of attention the light that shone from her captivated your attention. Always smiling, always reacting to the events on the stage, skipping, dancing, laughing and always looking just like an airy spirit should look. She got to use some great props such as parachutes, streamers and fire.
For being an open amphitheater with a large stage and set at many different heights, they managed remarkably well without any form of amplification. From July 30th through September 5th they will also be doing Much Ado About Nothing in various locations so I highly recommend that you check out their website for details.
To learn more about Portland’s many wonderful fountains, click here
Brought to you by Brian Bailey
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