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
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.