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Production of "The Tempest" unites The Arts at Queens

03/16/11 -  

Several semesters ago, arts faculty at Queens began kicking around ideas about working together.  Their plans took shape when Dr. Kara Wooten mentioned that she'd like to direct a production of "The Tempest." 

Professor Connie Rhyne-Bray then suggested that one of her music students, Kristen Lay, would be up to the challenge of composing original music. Professor Mike Wirth wanted to create digital interactive scenery, and Professor Jayne Johnson set her print-making students to work carving intricate woodcuts of a boat in a storm. Dance professor Dr. Alison Bory volunteered to work with dancers to set kinetic moods for scenes in the play. 

Now, after hours and hours of rehearsals, the development of designs for the set, sound, lighting, costumes, and more, The Arts at Queens presents "The Tempest," one of the great and final plays of William Shakespeare, March 24-26 at 8 p.m. and March 27 at 2 p.m. in The Hadley Theater. Admission is $6 at the door.

This special Queens Theatre production is cosponsored by the university's departments and programs in Drama, Art, Dance and Music. It is also the premiere event in the Spring Festival of The Arts at Queens. A month-long series, the festival is a celebration of the energy and talent of undergraduates in the arts. The events often feature seniors and reflect four years of studying craft and technique. They also mark the important connections made between students and faculty in classrooms, studios, workshops, and offices, both on stage and back stage, and at coffee shops.  

Assistant Director of "The Tempest," sophomore Courtney Turner, is one of the many students involved in a festival event. She has worked side by side with Dr. Kara Wooten, as well as her classmates and several professionals. "The best part," says Courtney, is "the transformation from casting to production." She has guided the process for months as the cast and crew sewed, painted, blocked scenes, and hung projectors. Despite the complexities, she says, "the final product is better than any of us could have accomplished without collaboration."

Queens students, including Courtney, will discuss their experiences in an Arts Dialogue on April 7 at 6:30 p.m. in Sykes Auditorium. According to English faculty Dr. Mike Kobre, co-Director of the Queens MFA writing program, "The Arts Dialogue will provide an opportunity for undergraduate artists in all fields to reflect on their individual projects and the common struggle, in any discipline, to find your own voice and subject."

The Spring Festival opens with "The Tempest," which begins with a violent storm that washes characters ashore on a remote island. Prospero's magic brings about revelations and redemption in this funny and enchanting play. The performance will be in Hadley Theater, which is named in honor of Jane and Charles Hadley and is located on the Queens main campus at the back wing of Myers Park Traditional School, 2132 Radcliffe Avenue.

Enjoy "The Tempest," then come back to campus for other events in the Spring Festival of The Arts at Queens: a senior voice recital, a choral concert, the arts dialogue, a creative writing capstone reading, a comedic play, an original science fiction film, and a senior art show.  

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