Last summer, one of the hottest attractions in downtown New York City theatre was a production of Macbeth as performed by tiny ninjas on a briefcase-sized stage. Now, Thaddeus Phillips ups the ante with his production of Shakespeare's The Tempest as performed in a kiddie pool, ending its limited run at The Club at La MaMa E.T.C. June 10.
Phillips actually performed the piece which uses a trunk (as both the island and a ship), a sail (as a curtain for shadow-puppetry and Prospero's cloak) at La MaMa in 1998 following a 1997 performance of King Lear out of a suitcase. Tempest also features various props as the lesser characters — Ferdinand is a rapier; Alonzo, a hat; Antonio, a dagger; Miranda, a doll; Gonzalo, sunglasses; Stephano, a wine bottle; and Trincus, a stick puppet — while Phillips himself performs the leads.
The play, though it uses Shakespeare's original text, only has a running time of under 60 minutes. The production also features a sound score by Phillips and Jeremy Wilhelm. Following the NYC engagement, Tempest will travel to London for a June 27-July 14. The solo, swimming pool show will play at the Arcola Theatre.
For tickets to Tempest at La MaMa, 74A East Fourth St., call (212) 475-7710. For more information on the show and other shows at La MaMa, visit www.lamama.org.
— by Ernio Hernandez