Weather spells and sheer magic

Bucks-based theatre group Four­ways is putting the fi­nal touches to its open-air pro­duc­tion The Tem­pest. Camilla Good­man chats to Rick But­ler, one of the show’s pro­duc­ers

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - LIFE & LEISURE -

ATHEATRE group is cooking up a storm for its next pro­duc­tion. Four­ways Theatre Com­pany will put on an open air pro­duc­tion of the Shake­speare clas­sic The Tem­pest at Pipers Cor­ner School in Pipers Lane, Great King­shill from to­day (Thurs­day) to Satur­day, May 16 and again next week from Wed­nes­day, May 20 to Satur­day, May 23.

The cast, who range in age from five to 70, are now putting the fi­nal touches to the show, di­rected by Bar­ney Pow­ell, ahead of the seven per­for­mances.

One of the com­pany’s three pro­duc­ers Rick But­ler, who joined Four­ways in 1969, said: “Re­hearsals have been go­ing well. Ev­ery­one’s mak­ing re­ally good progress and the cast have re­ally bonded. The lines are learned and it’s all been blocked, now it’s just a case of putting the whole lot to­gether and pol­ish­ing it.

“Ev­ery­one’s look­ing for­ward to it and the cast is itch­ing to get go­ing.”

The play is set on a re­mote is­land where Pros­pero, the right­ful Duke of Mi­lan, plots to re­store his daugh­ter Mi­randa to her right­ful place us­ing illusion and skil­ful ma­nip­u­la­tion. He con­jures up a storm, the epony­mous tem­pest, to lure his usurp­ing brother An­to­nio and the com­plicit King Alonso of Naples to the is­land. There, his machi­na­tions bring about the rev­e­la­tion of An­to­nio’s lowly na­ture, the re­demp­tion of the King, and the mar­riage of Mi­randa to Alonso’s son, Fer­di­nand.

The com­pany, which has mem­bers Cre­at­ing rough magic – Four­ways Theatre Com­pany cast mem­bers re­hearse for the open-air pro­duc­tion of The Tem­pest from Bea­cons­field, Che­sham and Amer­sham and has been based in High Wy­combe for more than 50 years, usu­aly puts on three pro­duc­tions a year in­clud­ing an open air one in May.

While the per­for­mance is out­side, the au­di­ence sit in cov­ered seat­ing to pro­tect them from the el­e­ments. How­ever, the cast is not so lucky and in the past they have per­formed in tor­ren­tial rain.

Mr But­ler added: “We erect cov­ered seat­ing so the au­di­ence don’t get wet, but the cast might! We’ve done other pro­duc­tions in the rain, some in tor­ren­tial rain. Two or three years ago the weather was fine un­til the last night when the heav­ens opened in the sec­ond half. We asked the cast if they wanted to stop, but they were adamant to carry on. The show must go on!”

How­ever, rain might ac­tu­ally add to the per­for­mance of The Tem­pest.

Mr But­ler added: “It’d cer­tainly work well for the first scene! How­ever, we’re pray­ing for fine weather!”

Mr But­ler said the com­pany, which is a reg­is­tered char­ity, has given The Tem­pest a more mod­ern feel.

He added: “It’s been di­rected in a way that you get a sense of the words, it’s a more mod­ern way of do­ing Shake­speare to make it more in­tel­li­gi­ble and get the mean­ing across and get the au­di­ence en­grossed in it.”

Mr But­ler is urg­ing peo­ple to see the show.

He added: “It’s lo­cal, it’s for a good cause and it’s high qual­ity. Lots of or­gan­i­sa­tions do open air Shake­speare in the sum­mer, but I’d like to think ours is the best, but I would say that!

“Peo­ple should come be­cause it’ll be an en­joy­able show and they’ll get a great wel­come.”

There will also be a li­censed bar.

Th The showh willill b be per­formedf d att 7.30pm with an ad­di­tional mati­nee show­ing of 2.30pm on Satur­day, May 16.

Tick­ets cost £14 (adult), £12 (conc) and £40 for a fam­ily (two adults and three con­ces­sions). Group dis­counts avail­able.

For tick­ets call 01494 522 722 or visit www.four­ways.org.uk.

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