by Grace Hatton, Reverb Editor
Warren Wilson’s spring theatre production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest suffered a major setback when the director of the play and Wilson theatre professor Graham Paul was hospitalized with the flu back in early January. Paul’s wife, Aimee, was also hospitalized with the flu at the same time.
Paul and his wife are both on the mend, but due to Paul’s being hospitalized so close to the start of the spring semester, his theatre classes were cancelled and he could no longer perform the role as director of the upcoming production. Yet as fate would have it The Tempest already had another experienced director in the cast. Candace Taylor, another Wilson theatre professor, had been cast as Prospera (a gender switched version of the leading male role, Prospero) in The Tempest.
After Paul’s hospitalization Taylor took on the role of director. She has directed multiple plays for the Wilson theatre department since her arrival to the Wilson community, including The Cherry Orchard and Cloud Nine.
“My acting as director was the most efficient means to an end,” Taylor said. “Since I already knew all of the actors, I teach Shakespeare, and have directed and appeared in productions of The Tempest before.”
The Tempest follows the story of Prosperpo as he conjures a storm or tempest to bring King Alonso of Naples and his entourage to a remote island full of spirits and magic where he and his daughter Miranda live. The play follows Prospero has he uses his magic to seek revenge against those who had betrayed him years before. And as with any great Shakespeare play plots and schemes ooze from every scene. Taylor has a keen insight into the play thanks to her previous experiencing acting in and directing productions of The Tempest “I think the play is about the desire for revenge, the realization that revenge is not necessarily sweet, and forgiveness provides a far more satisfying and edifying outcome,” said Taylor.
Taylor’s understudy, freshman Sophie Yates, has been cast in Taylor’s former role of Prospera since Taylor did not feel she could perform the duties of a director and actress at the same time.
“Some people tried to talk me into doing both acting and directing,” she said, “but I’ve never done that, and starting with a production that was conceived and cast by someone else seemed like a bad idea.”
Since Taylor took on the role of director, the entire cast has been adjusting to the new vision for the upcoming production.
“The themes and perspectives in my production are sharply different from Paul’s original plan,” Taylor said. “After speaking with the cast and designers, I decided that trying to follow his plan without his guidance would be more difficult than changing the focus to more accurately represent what I understand about the play.”
Because Taylor was able to fill the role as director, the play has been able to stay on track, and is scheduled to premiere March 7 in Kittredge Theatre. As always, tickets are available for free for students.