H-T Review: Risky ‘Tempest’ production pays off for IU

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Devin May (Ferdinand), Erin Logan (Miranda), and Ariels Emily Rozman, Athena Kopulos, and Courtney Relyea-Spivak

“The Tempest” was probably the last play that William Shakespeare authored alone, but he was clearly not past his prime. In many ways, “The Tempest” was his most imaginative play of all.

Unlike most of Shakespeare’s plays, there is no clear single source for the plot. It seems to have been amalgamated from an array of sources and at least partially invented. Even the genre is ambiguous; elements of comedy and tragedy are present in equal quantities.

As if the text itself is not unique enough, it gets a highly original rendering by the Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance this week. Henry Woronicz, a visiting professor and veteran of countless Shakespeare productions, is the director.

“The Tempest,” which plays out virtually in real time, begins with a shipwreck. Aboard the ship are Alonso (the King of Naples), his brother Sebastian, his son Ferdinand and Antonio (the Duke of Milan), among others. They assume themselves to be marooned on an uninhabited island.

However, the island is home to two people and at least a couple nonhuman beings. The people are Prospero and his daughter Miranda. Prospero is the brother of Antonio and the “rightful” Duke of Milan. A dozen years prior to the wreck, Antonio deposed his brother and usurped the dukedom, sending Prospero and Miranda into exile on the island.

Prospero has raised and educated Miranda with the help of Ariel, a supernatural spirit, and Caliban, a humanlike but magicless beast. Both are essentially enslaved by Prospero, so they vie for their freedom throughout.

Prospero himself possesses immense magical powers. In fact, it was he who conjured the ship to wreck, knowing his brother to be on it.

The rest of the play consists of three concurrent plots. Miranda and Ferdinand (the shipwrecked King’s son) fall in love, with some covert encouragement by Prospero. In another plot, Stephano and Trinculo (a butler and jester in Alonso’s court) drunkenly team up with Caliban to overthrow Prospero and seize control of the island. In the third plot, Sebastian and Antonio hatch a plan to kill Alonso and Gonzalo, allowing Sebastian to ascend to the throne.

The vision of this production is embodied in Kevin Nelson’s scenic design. The desert island setting is represented by a huge discoid structure encircling a couple of big fake rocks. Draped from the ceiling to the stage are giant silks, used throughout the show for all sorts of magic and treachery.

One of the boldest choices on the part of Woronicz is to have Ariel, Prospero’s magical assistant, played by three actors simultaneously. The three women cast in the role — Emily Rozman, Courtney Relyea-Spivack and Athena Kopulos — typically speak their lines in unison, sometimes trading off words for different sonic effects. They all wear the same frilly outfits with wigs and face paint reminiscent of silver Oompa Loompas.

The three Ariels match each other not only in appearance, but also in their movement and the pace of their speech. Because the three women are indistinguishable, Ariel has a creepy quality and it works well.

The funniest scenes in the play feature Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo, played by three graduate students in acting: Ashley Dillard, Abby Lee and Tara Chiusano, respectively. One can’t help but be charmed by Chiusano’s friendship with a little head-on-a-stick that she wields at all times.

Devin May and Erin Logan play the young lovers, Ferdinand and Miranda, with the appropriate innocence and naivete. Matthew Murry’s Prospero, despite his supernatural abilities and undeniable wisdom, has a grounded quality.

This production of “The Tempest” took a number of risks, and with the possible exception of an audiovisual projection that accompanies the marriage of Miranda and Ferdinand, they pay off. This doesn’t feel like one of those Shakespeare productions in which the director’s abstruse ideas are clumsily superimposed onto a classic text. The mystical character of the show is germane to the text itself.

“The Tempest” may have been Shakespeare’s last, but by no means was it his least. The poetry is gorgeous, the story is enchanting and the jokes are a delight.

If you go

WHO: Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance.

WHAT: “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. today-Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday.

WHERE: Ruth N. Halls Theatre in the Norvelle Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

TICKETS: $15-$25. Call 812-855-1103 or visit theatre.indiana.edu.

Reprinted with permission from The Herald Times. For this story and more arts news, visit heraldtimesonline.com.
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Faculty Spotlight: Paul Brunner

By Ashley Dillard

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Paul loves selfies

Hey IU theatre fans! I’m back with another feature on one of our awesome faculty members, Paul Brunner. Paul is the Technical Director and Head of the Theatre Technology program and although he feels much more comfortable behind the scenes and out of the limelight, I am excited to share with you what he’s been up to!

Paul was recently elected Secretary of USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology) and will assume a 3 year term this July. He will attend the USITT National Conference in March in St. Louis and take part in leadership meetings! Paul’s duties will include bringing new perspectives to solve problems and fostering a proactive and respectful atmosphere for all!

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Duchess of Malfi sustainability project

Paul is also continuing his 16+ years of research in sustainability within the theatre. “Greener” theatre has always interested Paul and he’s teamed up with Olivia Ranseen, a sophomore environmental management major, on a case study of our recent production of The Duchess of Malfi.  They will be writing an article highlighting this case study and its findings; it will appear in the Summer or Fall edition of the USITT  journal Theatre Design & Technology .  Paul and Olivia’s work has been outstanding and they continue to look for ways to implement lasting changes in IU’s productions towards a more environmentally sustainable future. Head over to this Indiana Daily Student article to read more about their endeavor!

I originally wanted to talk Paul about his work with theatre sustainability, a subject I find fascinating. However, I became even more interested in Paul’s sabbatical research project exploring a broader range of career opportunities and a new sense of self-sustaining careers for arts and theatre students. Paul is investigating what kind of careers are available to theatre artists, specifically technical theatre artists, outside of the theatre industry. “The Cultural and Creative industries unpacks complex creative and artistic processes and evaluates those products and services common among a wide range of specialties. Theatre arts is included in these specialties, but the extent to which theatre ‘makers’ – the highly trained and specialized creatives, craft persons and entertainment engineers who are the engines behind all live performance events – have hardly a token of influence in this body of knowledge.”

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Paul Brunner

Paul has found very limited information that discusses the intersection of technical production for live entertainment and the creative industry. He is hoping that by delving into research of how these industries can interact harmoniously, he can bring new and exciting career opportunities to his students. Pending grant funding, he will be attending the Pave Symposium: Arts Entrepreneurship In, With and For Communities, at Arizona State University in May as part of his sabbatical research.

To top it all off  he is also taking a class, “Problems in Higher Education” in the Higher Education Student Administration (HESA) program at IU’s School of Education. “The class itself is fascinating to learn the forces that shape the problems facing higher ed.”

Many thanks to Paul for his work to enrich our department! Our faculty are always working to not only broaden their own knowledge of the theatre industry, but also to bring new opportunities to their students!

Thanks for reading this Faculty Spotlight and look out for the next edition!

dillard-ashley2017Ashley Dillard is a 3rd year MFA actor at Indiana University. She has been seen most recently as Kate in Dancing at Lughnasa at IU, Katherine in Home at the BPP, Marianne in Sense and Sensibility and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream both for IU Summer Theater. Though she calls beautiful Bloomington home now, she originally hails from Highland, IN.

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Director Woronicz turns tide with ‘The Tempest’ at Indiana University

By Joel Pierson, H-T Theater columnist

I have a soft spot in my heart for “The Tempest.” It’s William Shakespeare’s final play, his farewell performance, if you will, and it’s all about saying goodbye when you know the time has come. It features some classic plot devices from his comedies, but it’s not a laugh-out-loud romp. It features elements from his historical works, but it’s an outright fiction, rich with loyalty and betrayal, monsters and magic. This makes it unique and beautiful and special.

Our friends at the Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance know this, and they’ve asked visiting assistant professor Henry Woronicz to direct. Smart move, given his long tenure with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and numerous others. I selfishly wished that he would also take on the role of Prospero, but this is a student cast, and I respect that. The honor goes to third-year MFA actor Matthew Murry, in his thesis role. With Henry as his guide, I know it will be a winner.

“The Tempest” tells the story of Prospero, the overthrown duke of Milan, who is exiled to a mysterious island with his teenage daughter, Miranda. There he makes servants of a sprite named Ariel and a monster named Caliban, as he develops his talents for sorcery. When he learns that the very people who wronged him are on a ship near the island, he conjures a storm to run them aground and begin a very serviceable revenge upon them. Or so it was written.

“This is not your father’s ‘Tempest,’” says Woronicz, however. “We’re trying to make it very modern in some ways. It takes place in a world that Prospero has manipulated and created on this island with the help of the spirit Ariel.”

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Ariels Emily Rozman, Athena Kopulos, and Courtney Relyea-Spivak

This production reimagines the island as a timeless world. The scenic design by MFA student Kevin Nelson makes use of hanging fabrics, allowing cast members to use aerial silks acrobatics to work their magic. (And if you’ve never seen an aerial silks performance, it’s worth the price of admission all by itself.) Visual projections designed by Reuben Lucas help bring the magic of Prospero and Ariel to life for the audience.

The director offers, “‘The Tempest’ is about a man who has removed himself from life and paid the price for it, losing his dukedom and finding his way back to humanity with his daughter. Ultimately it’s about forgiveness and redemption.”

Another unconventional aspect to the production involves the casting of the monstrous Caliban, to be played by MFA actor Ashley Dillard. Curiously enough, the role of Caliban — neither man nor woman — has almost always been played by male actors. Woronicz and Dillard are out to shake up that tradition, as the actress explains: “On the outside, Caliban is nothing like any of the characters I’ve ever played before, but on the inside he’s going through the same things as everyone else: he wants freedom, he wants love, he wants to feel safe.”

With a lush visual style and an original musical score composed by Jacobs School of Music student Paul Mortilla, “The Tempest” looks to be the latest in a long line of top-quality IU Shakespeare productions.

Contact Joel by sending an email to features@heraldt.com with “Pierson” in the subject line.

If you go

WHO: Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance

WHAT: “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and Feb. 28, March 4; 2 p.m. March 4

WHERE: Ruth N. Halls Theatre, 275 N. Jordan Ave., Bloomington

TICKETS: $15-$25. Call 812-855-1103 or visit theatre.indiana.edu.

Reprinted with permission from The Herald Times. For this story and more arts news, visit heraldtimesonline.com.
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Tempestuous Personalities

Jfiles6By James Nelson

The cast of The Tempest has been living and breathing their characters for weeks. We checked in with them to see how they’ve gotten to know their characters, and pitched them a few super serious questions. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite line you get to say in the play?

Caleb Novell (Mariner, Islander): “All is lost!”

Tara Chiusano (Trinculo): “Thou liest!”

Reid Francis Henry (Gonzalo): “This Tunis sir, was Carthage.”

Matthew Murry (Prospero): “TEMPEST!”

How would you describe your character in two words?

Erin Logan (Miranda): Wild child!

Juan Mores Castillo (Sebastian): Narcissistic opportunist.

Devin May (Ferdinand): Reformed womanizer.

Reid Francis Henry (Gonzalo): Still talking.

If your character was a kind of pasta, what would they be?

Ashley Dillard (Caliban): Lasagna, layered with young scamels and pignuts.

Courtney Relyea-Spivack (Ariel): Angel hair.

Erin Logan (Miranda): Mac n’ cheese.

Matthew Murry (Prospero): Spicy TEMPEST puttanesca?

If your character started their own island country, what would they use as currency?

Tara Chiusano (Trinculo): Purple rocks.

Courtney Relyea-Spivack (Ariel): Clouds.

Caleb Novell (Mariner, Islander): Rum.

Nick Munson (Adrian): Not sure, but Gonzalo’s silence would be priceless.

If your character had to invent a new curse word that doesn’t exist yet, what would it be?

Athena Kopulos (Ariel): Fssssss (like a fire-ish noise).

Reid Francis Henry (Gonzalo): Moonlifter!

Devin May (Ferdinand): Crabtroll!

Juan Mares Castillo (Sebastian): Assenmouth (n.): someone who talks too much, often rambling about proceedings in which they have no knowledge.

Complete the sentence, as your character:”I’m so hungry I could eat a _____________”

Nick Munson (Adrian): Magical plate of island food!

Athena Kopulos (Ariel): Forest.

Ashley Dillard (Caliban): Literally anything but urchins. I’m scared of those.

Matthew Murry (Prospero): TEMPEST!

Complete the sentence, as your character:”When there’s smoke, there’s…”

Tara Chiusano (Trinculo): Fish smell.

Courtney Relyea-Spivack (Ariel): Wind to make it worse.

Erin Logan (Miranda): Probably my dad.

Matthew Murry (Prospero): A TEMPEST!

Complete the sentence, as your character:”A bird in the hand is worth…”

Ashley Dillard (Caliban): Eating.

Tara Chiusano (Trinculo): A butt of sack.

Caleb Novell (Mariner, Islander): Nothing to a mariner.

Matthew Murry (Prospero): TWO TEMPESTS!

If your character wrote their memoirs, what would the title be?

Athena Kopulos (Ariel): A Flame Contained

Tara Chiusano (Trinculo): The Lowest of the Low: Living the Life of a Jester

Devin May (Ferdinand): Riches to Rags: Losing All to Find Everything

Matthew Murry (Prospero): THE TEMPEST!

See our actors in action! Visit the show page for ticket information and to see what these folks look like without their makeup!

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From the H-T: Aerial Ariels!

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The Ariels (Scenic Design: Kevin Nelson, Lighting Design: Matthew Wofford, Costume Design: Courtney Foxworthy)

Safety, Training, vital to performance in production of classic Shakespeare play

By Marcela Creps

As Henry Woronicz prepared to direct IU Theatre’s production of “The Tempest,” he decided to do something different.

He’s been in productions of the Shakespeare play, but this was his first time directing the show. In previous productions, the character of the spirit servant Ariel was “so earthbound” that he decide to work some magic into the show.

Woronicz knew Paulina Makowska, whose talents include aerial silks. And the idea was born to make Ariel aerial.

“We started talking about how we might do it,” Woronicz said.

There were limitations to what could be done. Due to the space and safety concerns, the three actresses cast as Ariel never get more than 48-inches off the ground. They also had to find actresses who would be able to go through the necessary training.

“It’s been fun to work on, and I think we added a little bit of extra magic to ‘The Tempest,’” Woronicz said.

First, the decision was made to cast three actresses who would work together to create Ariel. Woronicz said he wasn’t concerned about finding women who could handle the role’s special requirement.

“Most young actors these days are doing some kind of workout program,” Woronicz said. Also, the school is home to many dancers and actors with various skills that would translate well for the role.

Actress Courtney Relyea-Spivack said it was during callbacks that the plan to use silks was first mentioned. Not having much upper body strength, she was worried about how it would go.

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Courtney Relyea-Spivak

“It was sheer adrenaline that sort of got me through that callback. I’d never climbed a rope before and I was like, all right, I’m going to do it. I just did it, and it was the hardest callback I’d ever had,” she said.

She had to do the opening scene from the show. Because she’d played the role before, she was able to recite the lines, although it was difficult to improve new skills on the silks while speaking Shakespeare.

“It was terrifying,” Relyea-Spivack said.

It didn’t make it easier when she fell off the silks during the audition. Luckily, the trainer caught her. Relyea-Spivack said there was concern that the fall would scare her off the role, but she reassured them she was up to the challenge.

Along with silk training, Relyea-Spivack said she works out about six to seven times a week to improve her upper body strength for the performance. As rehearsals have progressed, she’s become more comfortable in her ability to do the show.

“I didn’t expect myself to ever have upper body strength, and i have a pretty good core and knew i could at least rely on that. But once you’re up there, you’re really holding yourself up for the most part with your upper body. Then everything else is maneuvering these 30-foot long silks that once we got onto the stage they were lot more bungee-like and they were completely different material to get used to. So it’s been a constant training experience for my body, which I’m still sort of learning how to deal with,” she said.

However, she said Makowska has been great in helping the actresses work with their bodies. Because Makowska is certified in Active Release Technique, she is good at helping them deal with pain and teaching them how to adjust positions to make it easier.

Although the training has been intense, Relyea-Spivack said the role has been the most challenging yet the most rewarding. She’s enjoyed working with Emily Rozman and Athena Kopulos, the other two actresses cast as Ariel. Because the three work together to play one character on stage, they’ve had to learn how to harmonize as one character. As such, a lot of trust has grown between the trio.

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Emily Rozman

“So it’s been really, really difficult but really amazing to sort of watch all of our progress,” she said.

Going into the final few days before opening night, there are still changes being made to the show. It was also very different working on the silks in the movement studio versus the silks on stage for the show. Because the silks on stage are installed differently, it took time to get used to jumping on them and the movement that happens with the silks.

Woronicz said as rehearsals have progressed, constant changes have been part of the process. “There has been a constant sense of readjusting and rechoreographing and rechanging,” he said.

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Athena Kopulos

The silks are essential to in Ariel’s role.

“Henry did a really good job of sort of making sure we’re always touching the silks. He always described it has having a power cord to the sky. Sometimes we disappear behind the silks and we’ll be on stage and you’ll kind of forget that we’re there and we’ll pop out,” Relyea-Spivack said.

While she admits there are times she still thinks what she’s doing is crazy, having Rozman and Kopulos there has been crucial in giving her the confidence to get through the difficulties. Together they work out problems and concerns.

“We’re all in this together so if we’re both having a moment of ‘Ah, I can’t feel my foot,’ we’ll look at each other and be like ‘It’s going to be OK. we’re going to be done in five seconds,’” Relyea-Spivack said.

Adding this skill to her resume will also be important, as she’s not only learned about using aerial silks but has also shown the ability to meet a new challenge.

Woronicz said the actresses are hoping to be able to capture video of the performance that can be used for their audition tapes.

“The theater embraces all kinds of disciplines and modalities, so to have a special skill like that on your resume at the right place at the right time, it might get you the job,” Woronicz said.

So far, the rehearsals seem to be giving Woronicz what he hoped the production could be and more.

“I’m very excited by what’s coming together,” Woronicz said.

Reprinted with permission from The Herald Times. For this story and more arts news, visit heraldtimesonline.com.

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SPEA Insights: Exploring Caliban in The Tempest

By Rinjisha Roy

William Shakespeare’s plays are renowned for depicting a diverse multitude of characters, and The Tempest is no exception. In the upcoming IU Theatre production, director Henry Woronicz has experimented with his cast, having female actors play different gender roles within the play. And, quite interestingly, this includes the half-monster Caliban, to be played by 3rd year MFA actor, Ashley Dillard.

Having always played women in the past, Ashley observes how unique this experience is. From alternating voice modulations to a bizarre physical appearance, Ashley has had plenty of scope to experiment with her character. “Caliban has had about six different voices and accents,” she says, “Henry and I collaborated in finding Caliban’s voice. Just in the past few days, we found a sound that feels on the right path.” The physicality of Caliban is also intriguing. “The character has a deformity, and I base all my movements around that. Because the upper body is weak, something else has to be strengthened. So all the power comes from the legs and the hips,” she adds.

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Abby Lee (Stephano) and Ashley Dillard (Caliban) in an early rehearsal on the Ruth N. Halls stage.

Caliban’s physicality also affects his relationships with the other characters on stage, and often this involves a shifting balance of power. Ashley talks about her early interactions with Matthew Murry, who plays Prospero in the play. “At first Caliban was afraid of Prospero. Matt would attack me and I would get scared, withdraw, and chew on my growth. Then one day Henry said to me that we cannot have Caliban physically disengage so much, because then there is no fight left between the two. So then I tried to find places where I could pick a fight with him,” recounts Ashley.

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Ashley Dillard’s “Caliban” in rehearsal

Ashley uses thoughts of revenge to lead Caliban to rebel, even though his deformity makes him the less strong character of the two. “As Caliban, I do not physically or emotionally give up, even though Prospero is the one who usually wins.” Caliban’s resilience leads to a positive change in the character’s relationship with Prospero, a progression that audiences can see happening on stage. Ashley mentions one scene where this is evident. “When Prospero extends the olive branch to Caliban and says, ‘Let’s do this together!’ there is a real moment of reconciliation between the two, because they are not master and servant anymore. I think the relationship being solidified makes the physicality more truthful,” she concludes.

So what has she learned from playing a character like Caliban? Ashley has several thoughts on that. “Previously if I were offered this character, I would have said no way. I play ingénues, and that’s what I do really well. But graduate school has really opened my eyes to saying ‘You can be that, but you can also dig into the masculine side of the same character because those two sides exist within you’, and it has been liberating for me to find my strengths and my power.” It has also allowed her to better relate to the very human feelings in a character like Caliban. “I see a lot of myself in him,” she observes, “as somebody who feels bad when something rightfully theirs is stolen from them.” For her, Caliban’s emotions are reasonable, because she is able to feel Caliban’s agony. “Finding the anger in Caliban is not so difficult, I can hone in on that pretty quickly. It is true for theatre, and acting in general, that the more parts you play that are different from yourself, the more you learn that they are not so different from yourself”.

Ashley’s portrayal of Caliban is certainly one of the aspects in the play that I as an avid Shakespeare admirer am eagerly looking forward to. Ashley mentions how people have responded upon hearing she is playing this role. “Everyone that I have talked to is like ‘That’s awesome!’ or ‘I can’t wait to see a woman do that part!’. Being able to watch a half-monster living in a timeless world on a 21st century stage is a rare treat, and all the more reason for you to come watch this production opening Friday, February 24th  in the Ruth N. Halls Theatre!

The Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance appreciates the valuable contributions of IU’s SPEA arts administrators to the cultural life of Indiana University and the Bloomington community. We look forward to seeing how they continue to be powerful advocates for the arts, here and abroad.

rinjroyrinjisha565-jpegRinjisha Roy is graduate student in the Arts Administration program at SPEA and a graduate assistant for IU Theatre’s marketing department. She is from Calcutta, India and was a literature major as an undergraduate at St. Xaviers College in Calcutta. Her interests include writing, poetry, Shakespearean theatre and classical music. This is her second semester at IU and she is very excited to be a part of the IU Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance.

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Shakespeare Upside Down

By Ashley Dillard

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A groupie with the Ariels: Courtney Relyea-Spivack, Emily Rozman and Athena Kopulos

For the past few weeks, I have been knee deep in Shakespeare and loving every minute of it. I am playing Caliban in IU’s production of The Tempest opening next week (run and get your tickets now!). Rehearsal is my favorite part of putting a show together. I love watching other actors in process—it’s fascinating to watch my friends and classmates melt away and characters begin to take form. One of the unique parts of this particular production of The Tempest are the three women playing Ariel. Courtney Relyea-Spivack, Emily Rozman and Athena Kopulos are the brave actors tackling this role. Not only are these women sharing Shakespeare’s verse, choreographing synchronized movement and figuring out vocal qualities, they are doing it all while maneuvering four feet above the stage on aerial silks! If that isn’t an acting challenge, I don’t know what it is!

“It adds an interesting level to the character. We have an advantage because we can visually express what we are trying to say,” Emily said.

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Courtney Relyea-Spivack contemplates the challenges that face the Ariels.

The silks can be used in a variety of ways. They can be tied up in order for the actors to climb on them or they can be let down and moved around the set to create specific shapes or pictures on the stage. “The silks definitely help us with character. When they are down and untied we can use them to enhance our own movement. As elemental spirits we want to always be moving and the silks can amplify that. When we’re up in the air I hope that it establishes us more as a more ethereal being,” Athena added.

Each woman is playing a different elemental side of Ariel—Emily is water, Courtney is air and Athena plays fire. These elemental ideas help each actor establish an individual physical and vocal language as well as a group esthetic. Courtney elaborated, “It’s really interesting because in one of our rehearsals we discovered that I was using ballet to influence my movement as air, Emily was using modern to embody water and Athena was using hip hop to influence fire’s movements.”

“Even vocally, we have to consider the other two,” Emily said. From the beginning the actors were being asked by director, Henry Woronicz, to consider not only how each side of Ariel moves, but also how she sounds. “Henry asked us ‘How does the element influence the way that you speak?’ So as air I may be speaking a line on an exhale or an inhale,” said Courtney. “Yeah and for fire, everything has a little bit of a bite to it. Everything is a little bit sharper,” Athena added.

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Emily Rozman (Water Ariel)

Ariel silks can be difficult to work with because they can be unpredictable. “I think the hardest line delivery I’ve ever had is saying a line while hanging upside down, “Athena joked. “Yeah, while it’s turning!” Courtney chimed in. “You’re upside down and you’re trying to figure out where you are in relation to everyone else. And you know you have a line coming up, but you’re facing upstage while you’re saying it. You have no control over the silk when it’s spinning like that. Sometimes you can use your core to turn yourself around, but really the silks do what they want.” Emily agreed, “If I feel like I’m in a bad position, I have to kind of ditch the choreography, at least at this stage, to be able to come up to a position where I can deliver the line clearly.”

I am amazed every night at what these women are doing. I’ve also been really impressed with how they seem to be so in sync with each other. “We have to stay connected to each other at all times. Even if it’s just a mental connection, we must always be aware of what the other two are doing,” Emily said.

To see these women in action (this is where I shamelessly plug my own show) come and see The Tempest opening February 24th in the Ruth N. Halls Theatre!

dillard-ashley2017Ashley Dillard is a 3rd year MFA actor at Indiana University. She has been seen most recently as Kate in Dancing at Lughnasa at IU, Katherine in Home at the BPP, Marianne in Sense and Sensibility and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream both for IU Summer Theater. Though she calls beautiful Bloomington home now, she originally hails from Highland, IN.

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