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Shakespeare Under the Stars: The Tempest @ Arcosanti

25 September 2015   Lewis and Lynne LaMaster
A magical evening of The Tempest, held in an enchanted place. 

Arcosanti sits like an island in the desert washes of Arizona. Appropriately, this weekend Arcosanti hosts an enchanted island that exists in the mind and words of William Shakespeare's, The Tempest. As the breezes blow thru the canyons, it is easy to imagine the magic storm that blows a King and his Duke to the shore of a desolate island. 

Here we meet a deposed Duke,  who plots more than just revenge. We also meet the Duke’s daughter Miranda, and a spirit named Ariel, begging for release. Don’t forget the son of a wicked witch, and the shipwrecked usurpers, and you have a story that only Shakespeare can tell so well.

As the play comes to a climax, you realize that instead of Shakespeare's usual ending consisting of piled up dead bodies; forgiveness, freedom, and a little romance rule the day.

The play is put on by Laark Productions, which lays claim that it is, ‘Theater for people who like theater.’ 

Impressions abound, but first it must be acknowledged that one could not find a more perfect setting in Arizona for a performance of The Tempest  The Arcosanti setting allows the play to take place in several settings, with an almost magical mingling of the players amongst the audience. This is not a single stage performance, but one that moves and travels with the story. Spirits hide in real trees; feet are dipped in real water, and the stars above bring an enchantment of their own. 

While the entire cast does a superb job, it’s worth taking special note of Jonathan ‘JP’ Perpich, who plays the part of Prospero, and Duncan Burkitt, in the role of Ariel. Perpich shows a range of emotion that at times are scary, and then displays a tenderness leading to hope. Ariel, a spirit that does Prospero’s bidding willingly, yet still pines for freedom, literally sets the tone of the play with a clear musical call throughout the performance. 

If You Go:

What: Shakespeare’s The Tempest

Where: Arcosanti

When: September 25, 26 (yep, only two performances. Get your tickets now!)

Time: 6 PM for dinner, 7 PM performance

How much: $40 with dinner (menu); $20 for performance only; $10 for students. Call 928.632.7135 for ticket reservations.

Notes:The night sky is certainly lovely, but towards the end, one might feel a slight chill. Bring a sweater, and you’ll be fine. This is probably not the occasion for your fancy duds, dress comfortably and wear shoes you don’t mind walking in. Also, a flashlight might prove helpful (or use your cell phone!) as strolling through the Arcosanti grounds might prove to be irresistible. 

Arcosanti is a fascinating place. You can find out more about them at https://arcosanti.org or you may want to come early to explore. There’s a lot to see and learn. Call 928.632.7135 for further information. 

Finally, it is necessary to travel along a dirt road for a couple of miles before parking. Don’t panic, there really is an amazing community, an ‘Urban Laboratory,' at the end of the trail! 

If you have never been to Arcosanti, be sure to check out the map for directions: Google Maps

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