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Review: The Tempest at White River State Park 

****1/2
click to enlarge Zoe Turner (Miranda) and Ross Percell (Ferdinand) in a promo photo for Heartland Actors' Repertory Theatre production of The Tempest.
  • Zoe Turner (Miranda) and Ross Percell (Ferdinand) in a promo photo for Heartland Actors' Repertory Theatre production of The Tempest.
Courtney Sale’s deft direction allows this fine cast and crew to delve into the depths of each character and incident in Heartland Actor Repertory Theatre's production of the The Tempest, continuing through August 2 at White River State Park.

Sale and company permit the play's humor to surface and murderous schemes to bite; for the supernatural to seem ordinary and the ordinary to heighten sensibility; for love to find its way into the fabric of our soul. What’s at stake here? Freedom? Justice? Is what we see reality? Or is our reality based upon what we see? Is our vision myopic? Rob Koharchik’s set design opens us to layers of possibilities.

We’re lured into the tale with a shipwreck. We’re kept engrossed with wizardly magic and ribald humor. Yet we’re most touched by Prospero’s taking off of the garment of supernatural powers. Never take your eyes off that blue shawl and the shimmering blue-clad Ariel — Laura Glover’s lighting gifts us with an amazing moment. And always keep your ears tuned to the music —Todd Reischman’s composition is ethereal.

When Prospero tells his daughter the details of their true whys and whos and whats, the colloquial, spoken approach adopted by HART in this production works wonderfully. After all, when Shakespeare wrote this romance in 1611, he was using the speech of the day to represent the stations in life and place of birth of each of the characters. 

We take away from the show Miranda’s tenderness, Ariel’s independence, Caliban’s liberation. We hope for a better world, recognizing that each of us has a differing vision for what makes for that better world.

HART listened to all the audience-comfort issues from previous seasons. You can see and hear with ease. Food trucks and bathroom amenities are within steps of your seating. Comfortable low chairs are provided courtesy of the White River State Park with free entrance or you can purchase a table replete with cloth cover and flower arrangement. Attend, applaud and salute Shakespeare’s 450th birthday with sips of Sun King’s Tempest in a Tankard lager or with a glass of wine. 
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