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In honor of the opening night of Olney Theater Center’’s production of The Tempest, Mother Nature added to the ambiance with a splash of rain. It set the scene for the play – which had to have a brief rain hold – and added to the magical nature of the night.

The setting is beautiful. It’s held at the Root Family Stage, an outdoor venue perfect for the summer nights. White umbrellas make up the backdrop – creating an ethereal, magical feel. Umbrellas are also incorporated throughout the play, standing in for canes, logs, and staffs. Puppetry was also used in depicting spirits. They surrounded the audience, creating a sense that we were included in the magic.

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Image courtesy of Olney Theater Center

The general atmosphere of the play is pleasant. The outdoor setting makes the production feel intimate. People picnicked on the grass while actors sang before the show, creating a great sense of community. The show features a cast of previous and current National Players. The older National Players serve to mentor recent National Players.

The mentorship is evident, as the acting is great. There is a lot of unexpected humor, particularly in the interactions between Prospero, Ferdinand, and Miranda. Leah Filley, who plays Miranda, does a great job poking fun at Miranda’s naiveity while Craig Wallace transitions easily between an overprotective father and a powerful sorcerer. The trio of Caliban, Trinculo, and Stephano are hilarious in their drunken antics. There is great chemistry between the cast, evident in the way all of them interact, especially when their characters tease each other.

Overall, it is a great production. If you find yourself in Maryland, you should definitely check this play out.

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