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'The Tempest' Rock 'n Roll style

Sandy High School presents Bard play with 1980s-style musical influences


Be sure to read the fine print for Sandy High School’s latest theatrical offering.

It contains a warning: “Crazy light show. Watch at your own risk!”

That advisory applies not only to anyone with light sensitivity, but perhaps to Shakespeare purists as well. While SHS’s vision of “The Tempest” sticks close to the language of the original text, it also reimagines the Bard’s famously shipwrecked cast of characters as pop and rock ‘n roll stars from the 1980s, including Madonna, Prince, Billy Idol and Michael Jackson. POST PHOTO: ELIZABETH KELLAR - Sandy High School students Dagan Godfrey, Bruce Dhone and Seriah Vulgas practice a scene at rehearsals on Monday. The Tempest will be presented May 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 in the SHS Black Box Theatre.

“The Tempest: 1982-2016 A Rock & Roll Extravaganza” will be presented at 7 p.m. on May 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 in the SHS Black Box Theatre. Seniors and students are $4, and adults are $5.

The play’s leading man, the powerful and vengeance-minded sorcerer Prospero, is played by 18-year-old senior Christopher Wolfe. In SHS’s production, Prospero has the look of late music legend David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust days. The character of Antonio — Prospero’s younger brother and betrayer — was given the styling of 1980s new wave rocker Adam Ant.

“What we decided to do, because a lot of people are bored by Shakespeare, is lighten it up,” Christopher said.

The students began working on the idea for the play’s concept in November, and began rehearsals in February. The production relies on more technical elements — including that promised crazy light show — than many of the school’s previous shows. Christopher described the experience as “fun but challenging.”

Lending a hand to create many of the set’s more complicated pieces was Los Angeles-based professional production designer Gregg Lacy, who has helped SHS drama teacher Tomi Griffin in the past. Lacy built a multi-tiered set so the students can act on different levels, such as in the beginning of the play when a storm tosses the occupants of Alonso’s ship onto Prospero’s enchanted island. Different types of fabric are used to signify various sorts of terrain or surroundings.

Trinity Rodrigues, 17, and a junior, plays the part of Ariel, a role that was divided between four students to create a chorus effect. The character is a spirit, and each of the actors wear tutus and tribal face makeup to suggest a glam rock appearance, Trinity explained.

She loves what has been done with the play — warning and all.

“I think this will make it more relatable to the public,” she said. “And it will make high schoolers more interested, too.”