“The Tempest” that opened in 1610 might have looked a lot like the staging now on hand at New Swan Theater.
Just as the venue is a scaled-down version of an Elizabethan theater, director Eli Simon’s staging is also scaled down, with scenes tightened and extraneous characters and dialogue discarded.
What’s left is a “Tempest” that artfully meshes reality with the play’s many elements of fantasy. Shakespeare always took care to inject welcome doses of humor, and at the New Swan, honest laughs are well in evidence.
The intimate nature of the New Swan puts the cast right in our laps. The first is Prospero (Greg Ungar), the rightful Duke of Milan, whose sister Antonia (Grace Morrison) usurped his title and set him and young daughter Miranda adrift.
After landing on an island inhabited by powerful spirits, Prospero learned the art of sorcery. Twelve years later, at the play’s start, he whips up a mighty storm that maroons Antonia’s passing ship on the enchanted island.
Stranded with her are Alonso (Adrian Alita), the King of Naples, who helped Antonia gain power, and his brother Sebastian (DeShawn Harold Mitchell), son Ferdinand (Eric Flores) and trusted counselor Gonzalo (David Carl Golbeck).
Prospero can now settle the score with Antonia and Alonso, aided by the spirit Ariel (Grace…