The Season


































The Tempest

Oh brave new world!

I am often asked, "What is your favorite play?" I usually reply, "Whichever one I'm currently working on." The next question is invariably, "What is your least favorite play, then?" To which I always respond, "Whichever one I'm currently working on."

The Tempest is no exception. It is a difficult play to grapple with, filled with endings, beginnings, fascinating characters who are all perfectly, utterly flawed. A love story? A tale of revenge? A dark underbelly with top notes of the ridiculous? The play refuses to fit into tidy classifications.

The Tempest comes with quite a bit of autobiographical discussions of a Shakespearean swan song. An ancient, Gandalfian-esque wizard, giving up his books, magical beings and breaking his enchanted staff to return home and live a non-magical life with the not exactly subtle comparison to Shakespeare's return home after writing The Tempest, leaving all his "magic" in London, never to write solo again.

Ultimately, this is not at all helpful when directing the play and so I turn to the words themselves. The more I delve into this text, the less I think it is about giving up, letting go of magic or the alchemy of living, or of leaving everything behind. It feels like new beginnings, hopeful starts, transmuting revenge into a balm of forgiveness... of a brave new world.

"O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!"

I wanted to explore the dynamic of a mother and daughter on this enchanted island world. A woman, betrayed by a power-hungry brother. A woman, who is the opposite of helpless, who will do anything for her fifteen year old daughter, including controlling the entire environment. What kind of story would that be? How does that change the arc of revenge? Of mercy? Of the apparent cruelty of enslaving the island's elemental beings, Caliban and Ariel. Of letting go of control? Can revenge, transmuted by love, lead to redemption and grace?

That's real. I can work with that. The pure alchemy of parenting, of betrayal, of love, of the power of letting go. I am willing to mine those depths and discover that story with the help of these fearless, beautiful artists who continue to inspire me daily.

There is a kind of beautiful discomfort when one dances with the absolute ambiguity of living. It is the "stuff that dreams are made on." I am rediscovering grace, hope and no small amount of love. It's humbling.

I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I have.

"Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not."

Susannah Rose Woods
















The Tempest

Oh brave new world!

I am often asked, "What is your favorite play?" I usually reply, "Whichever one I'm currently working on." The next question is invariably, "What is your least favorite play, then?" To which I always respond, "Whichever one I'm currently working on."

The Tempest is no exception. It is a difficult play to grapple with, filled with endings, beginnings, fascinating characters who are all perfectly, utterly flawed. A love story? A tale of revenge? A dark underbelly with top notes of the ridiculous? The play refuses to fit into tidy classifications.

The Tempest comes with quite a bit of autobiographical discussions of a Shakespearean swan song. An ancient, Gandalfian-esque wizard, giving up his books, magical beings and breaking his enchanted staff to return home and live a non-magical life with the not exactly subtle comparison to Shakespeare's return home after writing The Tempest, leaving all his "magic" in London, never to write solo again.

Ultimately, this is not at all helpful when directing the play and so I turn to the words themselves. The more I delve into this text, the less I think it is about giving up, letting go of magic or the alchemy of living, or of leaving everything behind. It feels like new beginnings, hopeful starts, transmuting revenge into a balm of forgiveness... of a brave new world.

"O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!"

I wanted to explore the dynamic of a mother and daughter on this enchanted island world. A woman, betrayed by a power-hungry brother. A woman, who is the opposite of helpless, who will do anything for her fifteen year old daughter, including controlling the entire environment. What kind of story would that be? How does that change the arc of revenge? Of mercy? Of the apparent cruelty of enslaving the island's elemental beings, Caliban and Ariel. Of letting go of control? Can revenge, transmuted by love, lead to redemption and grace?

That's real. I can work with that. The pure alchemy of parenting, of betrayal, of love, of the power of letting go. I am willing to mine those depths and discover that story with the help of these fearless, beautiful artists who continue to inspire me daily.

There is a kind of beautiful discomfort when one dances with the absolute ambiguity of living. It is the "stuff that dreams are made on." I am rediscovering grace, hope and no small amount of love. It's humbling.

I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I have.

"Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not."

Susannah Rose Woods

FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL: 360-331-2939 or email
July 14-September 3,
Shows Thursday through Sunday at 6:00,
(matinees at 1:00 Saturdays in August).
Island Shakespeare Festival is located at 5476 Maxwelton Road, Langley, WA 98260 (MAP)
Mailing address:
PO Box 1262
Langley, WA, 98260
Click HERE for the performance schedule.