The Tempest

Rated 3.0

Director David Harris incorporates a good concept, locating this community production on a palmy, humid isle in the Bahamas, with the spirit Ariel and her retinue styled on a Haitian voodoo theme. This leads into dance scenes and storms (choreographed by Angela Dee Alforque) on a bigger, more colorful scale than usual for Sacramento Shakespeare’s productions.

Veteran actor Luther Hanson, as the exiled conjurer Prospero, has the right look and moves. On opening night, he didn’t always display an equally commanding voice—the gray, smoky air was undoubtedly a factor, and the patchy onstage sound pickups didn’t always help. (Some other actors had similar problems, effectively bleaching the play’s rich language at times.)

Eddie Jackson, however, came through clearly as Caliban, the half-man, half-fish dubbed “Mooncalf” by domineering (and drunken) clowns Stephano (Ed Lee) and Trinculo (Michael Lie Murphy). Harris got good physical comedy in these scenes, especially the four-legs/two-heads bit.

As Tempest productions go, this one’s brief (two hours), reflecting several cuts, including Prospero’s epilogue. The aura of nature’s mystery and power (overwhelming the smaller plans of scheming “civilized” men) is nonetheless sustained, with help from costumer Nicole Sivell.