Shakespeare's The Tempest

by Angela Wright


Open Space Arts, a non-profit community theater based in Reisterstown, Maryland will be producing Shakespeare's The Tempest this February, 2017. The show will use the traditional text but will be set in the time of the Vikings, with heavily researched and as accurate as possible costuming and props. We need funding for materials for costume and set production, as well as funds to rent a stage in order to produce the show. 

This will be my first time directing a show with the company, however the company itself has produced many wonderful productions. Last year we performed Alice in Wonderland inspired by the circus, complete with a team built tumbling pass for Alice's descent into Wonderland. We have also produced A Midsummer Night's Dream and Peter Pan in the past. Every summer we also hold a New Playwright's festival, a collection of short and original works from a variety of playwrights. This project is a step forward for the group, as we try to push our work to be more and more professional. We are seeking to increase our budget and therefore our production value. We are also going to push our performers to really stretch themselves as actors, as The Tempest is a difficult piece especially for a young theater. Personally, this project is my attempt to pass on my love of Shakespeare to the next generation, in a community that has very little access to theater and The Bard himself. 

Using Vikings as a design platform for costumes and set pieces we hope to build a world using an ensemble cast to bring it to life. The fairies of the Island will be used as the literal island, the ensemble actors being present on stage at all times to create the physical world of the island. We hope the empower the ensemble to use movement to create the trees, bushes, and other surroundings with their own bodies, and show the audience just how magical the world is. The only real set piece will be the head of a Viking ship during the storm, to be tossed about on wheels while the fairies create the tempest on stage with drums and music while they torment the sailors on board. 

For this show, we are trying to raise $6,400.00. A good chunk of that goes to renting a space to perform in, which we estimate will cost around $2,000. The greatest cost of this show is going to be the costumes. $2,000 will be used for costumes. This is a large cast and the historical details needed to pull off a viking period piece are going to be costly but worth it. We are only setting aside $500 for set, most of the set and scenery will be provided by the ensemble actors to create a unique environment for the play, but we will need one grand set piece which will be the head of a Viking ship. The last $1,000 on production will go straight to props. We have commissioned a local craftsman to design and build historically representative Viking shields to really bring the flavor of the period to life. One of the shields will be grander than the other, and held by the king during the performance. This shield will then be used as one of the possible perks to our sponsors, to have a real and unique piece of the show. We have set aside $300 for the create of our gifts to our sponsors, which will include handmade items with artwork from the assistant director, Elora Meisenhelder. Lastly we have set a small amount, $500, for administrative costs like publicity.

If we are able to raise more than our goal we will put the money towards two things, publicity and costumes. We are always looking to reach a bigger audience and more money in publicity would allow us to do that. As for costumes, the more we are able to spend, the better the costumes will be. We create all our own costumes and being able to buy better materials just means a better production. 

Thank you so much for your support. This show is meant to be an ensemble cast and you, our backers, are one of the most important parts of our ensemble. 

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