Marlboro College

NewsBass Directs Shakespeare's "The Tempest"

MARLBORO, VT – On March 8, 9, and 10, at 8 p.m., Marlboro College presents William Shakespeare’s "The Tempest," directed by Eric Bass and performed by fifteen Marlboro students. The play is performed as a tea party, hosted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, for the benefit of special guest Charles Darwin.

"One of Shakespeare’s last and most beautiful comedies, 'The Tempest' is performed here as a dialogue with the man most often associated with the survival of the fittest," says Bass, who teaches theater at Marlboro. Puppets arise out of a Victorian tea table to tell the tale.

The Tempest tells the tale of a shipwrecked crew landing on an island inhabited by Prospero, a sorceror, Miranda, Prospero’s daughter. Various fairies and magical creatures enslaved by Prospero also inhabit the island. "The Tempest" has commonly been interpreted as a protest against colonialism, or as a fairy romp akin to Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night’s Dream."

However, the play can also be used to demonstrate the conflict between science and religion that typified the Victorian age in England. Darwin, who proposed the theory of evolution, and the Pre-Raphaelites, who sought to revive the style and spirit of Italian painting before Raphael, also illustrate this conflict of the Victorian age. Bass brings the two together in this production to illuminate their conflict.

The Marlboro student cast includes Morgan Eckert, Heather Carter, Damon Jespersen, Julia Catherine Slone, Priya Campbell, Laura Isabella, Shura Baryshnikov, Mat Doyle, Emily Graves, Kristen Olsson, Tim Collins, Jeremy Kacik, Hesse Phillips, Emily Downs and Alex Lehmen. The Marlboro Chorus, under the direction of Susan Klein, will provide accompaniment, along with music composed by Brattleboro’s Paul Dedell.

Bass is an internationally acclaimed theater artist who is artistic director of Putney, Vermont's Sandglass Theater. Bass will also be directing this summer's first ever Sandglass at Marlboro Summer Theater Institute, an intensive training in puppet theater. For more information please call (802) 257-4333 or check out the college online at

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