Theatre Department Begins Work for Upcoming Production of The Tempest


Chloe Golebiewski, Staff Writer

The Theatre Department has announced its upcoming production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, directed by Tom Truss, along with plans for other upcoming productions. 


Laura Standley, Associate Professor of Theater, has already conducted an audition workshop in the early stages of the production alongside the director of the show Tom Truss; a local Berkshire performer, dancer, choreographer, director, and teacher. 


In an interview with The Beacon, Truss shared his excitement for the production, “Shakespeare is extraordinary. He’s an amazing writer. I love his words, I love words, and I think words are incredibly powerful… they can really transform lives and tell stories, and I am a storyteller. When I was asked if I wanted to do this show I said absolutely!” 


Truss was originally supposed to direct the Putnam County Spelling Bee, which was a musical that MCLA was supposed to put on during the pandemic, but because of COVID-19, production was unfortunately shut down. Luckily, production is up and running for The Tempest, and according to the director, it is off to a great start. 


“We are really enjoying the set and we are moving at lightning speed; way faster than I would have thought. We will be able to do a bunch of runs before we even open it to the audience, which is very unusual, as usually we can only get through one before opening night. With this show, we’ll be able to get through like ten before an audience ever sees it,” said Truss. 


Stage Manager and sophomore student Aeden Maginnis also shared some important and exciting updates to the Black Box Theatre, which is now equipped with wheelchair accessibility (awaiting a custom wheelchair lift), new seating, and a newly redone stage. Maginnis added that the wheelchair ramp is also used for walking scenes to make them more interesting, drawing attention to something other than climbing up stairs. 


Maginnis was also able to provide some insight into this adaptation of The Tempest, which is about, “a man and his daughter who live on an isle in Italy. There is a shipwreck that brings characters together and they interact in a lot of fun ways.” This specific adaptation is set in the 1920’s era, the cast will be dressed in circus attire that is bound to bring an interesting perspective into the performance and will be fun to watch as a member of the audience. 


The rest of the academic year for theatre sounds very optimistic. There will be one “mainstage” show each semester, along with a “theatre lab” show. 


“A mainstage show is typically a fully produced play that we work in the typical production manner. The theatre lab show is designed to allow students to experiment with content and form, and to turn the normal hierarchy on its side and experiment with more collaborative models of theatre making,” said Standley. 


The mainstage show this fall is an abridged version of The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, while the theatre lab show, later in the semester, is in collaboration with Standley’s directing class. It will be an original adaptation of a science fiction novel and is a “workshop development production” that has a lot of potential. 


The spring mainstage show will be a play called Fefu and Her Friends, by Maria Irene Fornes, and will be directed by Standley. The spring theatre lab show, a collaboration with Standley’s Advanced Acting Music Theatre class, will be parts of a musical, in a more experimental format. 


The Tempest will premiere in the Black Box Theatre on Friday, November 4th, 5th, 11th, and 12th, and the 13th will be a matinee as a final performance.