Shakespeare’s The Tempest brings magic, comedy, and romance to IU Theatre in February

January 31, 2017

Bloomington, Ind –  Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance will continue the 2016-2017 season with a William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Completed in 1611, The Tempest is thought to be the final play that Shakespeare wrote alone, and many critics interpret the work as the playwright’s farewell to the stage. The story centers around the sorcerer Prospero (played by M.F.A. actor Matthew Murry in his 3rd year thesis role) and a group of travelers that he lures to his mysterious island through magical trickery. Neither a typical comedy nor a drama, The Tempest is a fascinating anomaly in the Shakespeare canon that has bewitched audiences for hundreds of years.

Visiting assistant professor Henry Woronicz will direct the production, drawing on his rich wealth of experience from his many years with Oregon Shakespeare Festival and many other Shakespeare theatre companies and festivals around the country, where he served as an actor in the ensemble before becoming artistic director. Woronicz, who teaches courses on acting Shakespeare to graduate and undergraduate students at IU, has enjoyed an illustrious national career as a stage and screen actor, director, and producer.

“This is not your father’s Tempest,” says Woronicz. “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.”

Woronicz’s production of The Tempest at IU renders Prospero’s island as a timeless, imaginative world that uses hanging fabrics to fluidly suggest multiple spaces. One notable feature of the scenery (scenic design by Kevin Nelson in his 3rd-year MFA thesis project) will be aerial silks used for acrobatic movement from the magical denizens of the island, and projections on the set (designed by Reuben Lucas) will illustrate the magic of Prospero and Ariel.

Despite an unconventional approach to the play, the production will hone in on the rich themes that have made the play one of Shakespeare’s most enduring works. “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,” says Woronicz. “Ultimately it’s about forgiveness and redemption.”

The 18-person student cast also features 2nd-year M.F.A. actors Meaghan Deiter (Alonso), Tara Chiusano (Trinculo), Nicholas Jenkins (Antonio), and Abby Lee (Stephano), as well as 3rd-year M.F.A. actor Ashley Dillard in her final role at IU as Caliban, Prospero’s deformed monster slave, a role which is almost never portrayed by a female actor. “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,” says Dillard.

The play will feature an original musical score composed by Jacobs School of Music student Paul Mortilla. The design team also includes Courtney Foxworthy (Costume Design) and Tony Stoeri (Lighting Design).

IU Theatre’s production of The Tempest boldly explores a Shakespearean classic while remaining true to its complex themes, warmth, and sense of adventure.

WHATThe Tempest, presented by IU Theatre

WHEN: Feb. 24 – Mar. 4, 2017

WHERE: Ruth-Halls Theatre, Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave.

TICKETS: Regular admission is $25 for adults, $15 for students, $20 for senior citizens. 812.855.1103 or For group discounts contact Abby Miller (