Sharps and Flats:
The Blog of Dr. Daniel Blossom, D.S.M.
Taking New Haven by Storm
Posted on August 9th 2016 by realmagicmaestro
Well, hello there all you Bro-ssoms and Blossomistas! I’m so very glad to be bringing you another fantastic story from the life of, well, me! Remember to share this post with everyone you know who is in the know who can actually use digital technology. Thanks!
Anyhoo, I was just so honored, so incredibly, deeply honored to be part of the recent production of The Tempest that was put on at the Schubert. Good gracious, what a show, what a night! Oh, it was amazing, simply amazing, to be Executive Assistant Artistic Director for this production, and to work with the legendary Prospero on his final show. Truly, the only thing more impressive than his theatrical skill is his magical prowess! Such a pleasure. Really, the first thing I want to do is thank Prospero for giving me the chance to assist him. Though he is, of course, New Haven’s best local director, he condescended to allow me to take charge of, well, the bulk of the show. Yes, it really was amazing to have so much responsibility for such an incredible play. Why, one could almost say that Prospero told me which port was our destination, but it was my job to actually navigate the ship there, to sail our happy little barque through the waters of excellence to the shores of perfection.
But, though I was effectively captain, what’s a captain without his crew? And what a crew of actors and actresses we had! I’m sure you all read Jack’s review of the show (for a notoriously hard-to-please critic, his words were just so complimentary, don’t you think?), so I will spare you a rehash of all that, but I just want to point out some of my favorite moments that happened, both on stage and behind the scenes.
First, I am so grateful to our security team. Officer Theodore Jones might be a grizzly on his beat, but he’s a Teddy with his friends! Such a lovely man. He was Prospero’s personal security detail, and he was taken aback when he found a young man wandering through the theater with a powerful magic sword. But there was nothing to worry about, because that young man was none other than Scott Walker, of the famous Walker family! There first meeting was a bit… tense, but I was able to smooth things over with some honeyed words and a reminder that they were both here in common purpose. Officer Jones continued to serve as Prospero’s shadow, while young Master Walker ranged about the theater keeping closed what needed to be closed, if you catch my meaning. Yes, Walker ranged all over… he was quite the… ranger! See what I did there? Ha! Anyway, he bought a bunch of knick-knacks and hung them everywhere, supposedly to keep nasty things out, but I think it was because he secretly thought my vision for the set design was… insufficient. I didn’t tell him at the time, but, well, let’s just say he’s a better guardian of this reality than he is an artistic director and leave it at that.
Moving on, I want to focus on one of the best casting decisions I have ever made – one of the best casting decisions any director has ever made, truly – and talk about my dear friend Sam being chosen for the role of the monstrous, misshapen, deformed, wretched, hideous, corrupt, and ugly little scoundrel, Caliban. It was perfect casting! Sam, who in real life is actually occasionally pleasant, relished the role, as it really brought his natural talents to the fore. He was able to bring out his animal side and run wild on stage. Strangely enough, just like the character he played, he tried to make some magic happen with Prospero’s daughter, Miranda, but, just like in the show, he was rejected. Honestly, I think it is for the best; she’s just not his type. He needs a different kind of female altogether!
Greg Werther, local artisan coffee-monger, gave a solid performance on stage, though, understandably, he was outshined by some of our other actors, namely Prospero himself, but I don’t want to focus on his mediocre acting. Rather, I’d like to talk about his special relationship with Prospero. Immediately, I could see that Greg just so deeply admired the man. It was not unlike seeing a school-girl make moon-eyes at a visiting movie star (I have a picture of my great-grandmother fawning over Derek Swanson, acclaimed actor of Hollywood’s golden age, that reminds me of the way Greg gazed at Prospero). Greg would excitedly seek time to ask Prospero a question, and then turn as red as a tomato and look away as he received his answer. He’d go off and examine the different magical foci Prospero had set up, hoping he could glean some shred of wisdom from a master of the craft; he may even have snuck into Prospero’s room just to get a souvenir from his new magical mentor! At least, that’s what Sam told me. I don’t know if Greg actually learned anything from Prospero, but I know he will never forget his brief time as Prospero’s protégé.
I suppose I should mention Ariel, who played Ariel. He was pretty flighty, though I will say he had a fair singing voice. He just vanished at the end of the show, but not before spiriting away a copy of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that Prospero had been keeping. He may have been causing mischief during our rehearsals, but I’m sure nothing bad will come of his actions!
Speaking of missing manuscripts, there was a special guest who showed up near opening night who caused plenty of excitement among everyone in the cast. Warden Metzger, the protector of all New England, came to check up on our production, and not because he was a fan of the theater! It seemed like he and Prospero were… acquainted. Metzger wanted to make sure there was nothing untoward happening during the show, and, well, it was a good thing he came, because, somehow, the shade of the witch Sycorax was released in the final moments of the show!
This was a moment of real pride for me, because I was able to see the cast, my friends, really come together when we were in quite a pickle. Greg’s spoon erupted with brilliant fire that scourged Sycorax’s ectoplasmic form, engulfing her in a sorcerous conflagration. Sam’s bestial side burst forth, and he raked and slashed with claws infused with totemic might. Scott hewed Sycorax with his family sword, darting across the stage like a steel wind. And Teddy! Teddy was incredible! Somehow, using his razor-intellect and detective skills, he found exactly which one of Scott’s knick-knacks would cause Sycorax to dissipate if she touched it, and he hurled it with brutal strength into her phantasmal visage.
Then, all that was left for me was to proclaim, boldly, passionately, like a lion about the feast upon his prey, the final lines of the show. The audience erupted with applause at Sycorax’s defeat, and the thunder of their praise ended her brief appearance on stage.
Now, there is something serious I need to address, and that is the rumor that Prospero and his daughter Miranda have some kind of problem with each other. I actually had a long conversation with Miranda, who deep down really is a sweetheart, and I can tell you that there is no reason for anyone to gossip about these two. All families have their ups and downs, and I am sure that every father and daughter can think of a time when they were frustrated with each other. Suffice it to say that they are both people, same as everyone else, and they should be allowed to work through whatever they might need to work through in private. Respect their privacy. Don’t talk about them. Please stop the rumor-mill. Just. Stop. It.
Also, just in case you forgot, make sure you share this post with all your friends! Thanks!
COMMENT POLICY: All comments must come from registered users. No anonymous comments will be accepted. Please be respectful of each other! Thanks!