Voices Found Repertory conjures a snug, little island to the tiny space Inspiration Studios in West Allis as it presents a staging of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. An ensemble of five swiftly spins through many more than five roles in the course of the immersive, little comedic drama. Under the direction of Alex Metalsky, weightier dramatic elements fade out in a flurry of well-aimed comedy that speaks to various aspects of the human condition.
Local theatre veteran William Molitor performs as the central anchor of the cast in the sole role of the wizard and displaced nobleman Prospero. The rest of the cast play castaways and spirits in a tumultuous tumble of comic conflicts, murder attempts and various other bits of scheming on an uncharted Shakespearian island.
Hannah Kubiak deftly inhabits a few different prominent characters including one quarter of the indentured spirit Ariel and drunken butler Stephano. (Everyone onstage but Molitor plays a quarter of Ariel in a well-modulated quartet.) Kubiak’s sense of comic conception and tasteful exaggeration serves the role well. Relative newcomer Grace Berendt makes quite an impression in a few roles. She plays to the darker end of the drama as the crafty usurper Sebastian. Berendt does an impressive job of taking-on the characters from every end of the play, making them her own and giving them life without undue exaggeration. It’s a lot of fun to watch. She’s powerfully present with physical and intricate verbal comedy in the meekly funny role of Stephano’s partner Trinculo and the sweetly romance of Prince Ferdinand.
Ferdinand falls for Miranda--daughter of the island who also falls for him. Miranda is given earnest life by Chloe Attalla. Towering Cory Fitzsimmons rounds-out the cast most prominently as Caliban. Fitzsimmons’ high-gravity presence could easily overpower everyone and everything else onstage. He does an impressive job of muting his physical presence to play a shambling slave. In the intimate confines of Inspiration, it’s quite apparent that Caliban could easily become the single most powerful character in the whole story if only he were confident enough to stand upright and stand-up for himself. This dynamic makes for an interesting contrast to most other stagings of the story that I’ve seen over the years. The only true native of the island is subjugated by interlopers. Fitzimmons is vividly portrays the innate power of the island itself in an enjoyably immersive comic staging of Shakespeare’s final script.
Voices Found Repertory’s production of The Tempest runs through Feb. 19th at Inspiration Studios on 1500 S. 73rd St. in West Allis. For more information, visit Inspiration Studios online.