“The Tempest” Spring 2020 Tour: Entry #2

By David Rubin

Ah! Blog #2…which is a little late due to some car trouble in New Jersey.

Long story short : I visited one Mr. Tom Miscia, at his home in New Jersey (not seen him for 33 years – he came over on a Performance Arts exchange visit from Montclair Uni to Middlesex Poly in ’87)…but I got locked out of our hire vehicle as I was about to head back to our hotel on Long Island and I ended up getting back there very, very late.

Next day we ended our week at Molloy College with a flight back to Notre Dame for Week 2 of the tour. We all arrived rather tired.

So. Week 1 saw us present our play before an audience for the first time.

Three performances at The Madison Theatre – having also run a series of workshops for students from Molloy College. There was a Q&A after the first showing, which was very informative. Again, the craving for ‘outside eyes’ was upon us.

We’ve now re-tweaked our opening storm. Less is more. We’re able to speak most of it now instead of the slight shout fest it was when fully accompanied/underscored.

And we’ve improved some of the transitions between characters that we have to make when playing more than one character in a scene.

Molly’s clear and brilliant portrayal of each of her 5 characters brought huge praise from the audience. “She’s like the anchor of the piece.”

A few of the audience said we “moved like dancers through the space” and loved the “physicalisations.”

The play itself went down very well, though the audiences were quite small (about 80-100 in a 500-seater)… and there was a reverence from them that it was good to see broken down as the play went on. There’s a section where the Spirit Goddesses of the island are summoned by Prospero to perform, and we include the audience in this, which proves to be a real breakthrough moment.

My personal thanks to Arthur for now keeping my Antonio alive throughout a scene where I’m also playing Prospero. It looks like one hell of an arm ache to me…he holds my hat in his outstretched arm for a quite unreasonable number of minutes to ‘keep Antonio present’ when I duck out of it to play Prospero. I do duck back into it to speak as Antonio again, eventually.

So we were in the state of New York and therefore made many visits into Manhattan to see friends, plays, sights and pizza parlours. Molloy College itself is situated on Long Island, about 35 miles from the Big Apple.

It brought back many memories for me, being where we were, in Hempstead, Long Island… Some 35 years ago my best friend Mark Nathan and I lived in Manhattan (on East 60th Street under the Queensboro Bridge) during our gap year – and we spent much of our time canvassing towns on Long Island, selling memberships for Greenpeace. We were part of the team that set up the first Greenpeace NYC office in 1984.

And now we’re back at Notre Dame. We’re expecting much bigger audiences here. It’s the Company’s “home.” We’re very well looked after everywhere we go, and with just five of us in the company, we very much enjoy each week’s encounters with the different students and staff.

Tune in next week to see how it’s gone!

PS I miss my girlfriend, Sally…