by Emily Hussey
For those who did not see the Millsaps Players’ recent production of The Tempest, you sorely missed out. Those who hear Shakespeare and automatically think “boring” have never seen Peter Friedrich’s adaptations. It was enthralling from start to finish. The cast was quite the variety; all age groups, from freshmen to seniors to Millsaps professors, with varying levels of acting experience. Other special appearances included the freshmen lacrosse players, as well as a video projection of students who are currently studying abroad in the Yucatan. The great diversity of people in the play signifies the production’s overall theme of bringing together different communities. This is particularly appropriate because the show was a Katrina recovery fundraiser. All proceeds are going to Bay Waveland Habitat for Humanity to help rebuild homes for those victimized by Hurricane Katrina.
Before the show began, the audience was instructed to introduce themselves to someone they did not know. The audience was as diverse as the cast – students and faculty from Jackson State University, Mississippi College, Belhaven, Tougaloo, and Millsaps were in attendance, in addition to people from Habitat for Humanity and the surrounding Jackson area. The audience was unified in the sense that had all donated money to see a show for the sake of the greater good of the community, which is a special thing to share. Doing this before the show began made the overall experience much more unique than the typical “turn off your cell phone” spiel.
In addition to superb (often hilarious) acting, the set and special effects were amazing. Since this was the last production in the Christian Center theater, the technical team did not hold back. There was a real waterfall, a fog machine, and dazzling lights. The stage was completely covered with sand. Audience members were squirted with water from water guns. It was evident that a ton of work was put into this production, and it truly paid off. The Tempest was a memorable experience that I am grateful to have witnessed.