‘The Tempest’ plays at the Campus Theatre

The last-written Shakesperian play, “The Tempest,” will make its El Camino College Theatre Department debut at the EC Campus Theatre starting Saturday, May 11 at 8 pm.

For five days, “The Tempest” will be performed by EC students and directed by Jerry Prell. Tickets are on sale for the general public; ECC staff and faculty at $15, and for ECC students $10.

Though the play was written about four hundred years ago, Prell said he wanted to capture the 21-century audience, so he adapted Shakespeare’s way of thinking from times to today.

“So there’s lots of kind of themes going through it that I think are relatable today and I think that that is the amazing thing… the human condition, in terms of how we treat each other really, hasn’t changed so much and that is why Shakespeare is for the ages,” Prell said.

Prell added the play talks about revenge and forgiveness through the characters like Prospero, the protagonist, who was banned from the island with his daughter.

“I wanted this idea of revenge and forgiveness to be timeless because they are timeless,” Prell said. “The idea of forgiveness is so powerful.”

EC only performs a Shakespearian play every other year, so students who are trying to get their AA in theatre would have to take the Shakespeare acting class, which is “the great thing about this theatre department,” Prell said.

“My goal as an educator on faculty here is to expose a community college audience to Shakespeare who’ve never had that experience, so they’re not afraid of it,” Prell said. “So that it’s engaging and they can see that Shakespeare is actually accessible to them and that Shakespeare can be enjoyed.”

The Theatre Department has been working on this play for about three months, said stage manager, Ellis Johnson, 19, theatre major.

“I’ve been with the cast in every single rehearsal, I ran auditions. I’m always there, I’m kind of the second branch to the director,” said Johnson.

Johnson is responsible for coordinating with the director’s order to the actors, and simultaneously adjusting the lighting and backgrounds to those changes.

As for any big challenges that have occurred so far, Johnson said “everything is a challenge.”

“Live theatre is an adventure in and of itself because everything you just have to roll with it because there is no like film you get to cut and come back to it, but theatre you just have to keep going and turn your mistakes into part of your artwork,” Johnson said.

Denzel Roseboro, 23, theatre major, plays one of the main characters, Prospero. Throughout the play, his character, who is the Duke of theKingdom of Naples, faces the challenge of living on a deserted island with his daughter after being stranded by his brother, said Roseboro.

“We do a lot of reading and researching in terms of the script and then we put ourselves in their shoes as in understanding what’s their backstory, where are they coming from, where are they going,” Roseboro said. “So if we are on stage and we are trying to get into the moment of the scene, we think of this thing called the moment before.”

As for what the audience should pay attention to, Roseboro said the storyline.

“This is the Shakespearean play, this was his last written work and so one thing to pay attention to is the storyline and how Prospero tells the story because there are some similar nuances to him and Shakespeare himself in terms of how he’s written it, his personality, and everything that he was going through at that time period,” Roseboro said.

The theatre department will show this play beginning Saturday, May 11 from 8 p.m. at the Campus Theatre.

“It really blends all the best of Shakespeare, humor, and tragedy, and comedy, and drama, and all those imaginative elements that Shakespeare brings to his plays,” Prell said.

Show times may vary:

Saturday, May 11 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, May 12 at 3 p.m.

Thursday, May 16 at 1 p.m.

Friday, May 17 at 8 p.m.

Saturday, May 18 at 8 p.m.