East students perform The Tempest

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Courtesy of Jackie Orlando

Jackie Orlando (’17) and Bethelly Jean-Louis (’17) perform in the Tempest.

The Tempest, a Shakespearean original, was performed on December 4, 5, 11, and 12 of 2015 at Cherry Hill High School East.  This adaptation was quite ambitious and absolutely breathtaking; even though the actors spoke in Shakespeare’s unique and confusing language, the plot was relatively easy to follow. The well-developed characters and the incredible projection work done by Mr. Gambino, an English teacher here at East, captivated the audience.

The play starts with a violent storm, or a tempest, which causes a ship to wreck. We then see Prospera, played by Jackie Orlando (‘17) for the red cast and Sarah Gagarin(‘16) for the white cast, former Duke of Milan.

This was a challenging role for both ladies to take on, being that in the original script, Prospero was male. The gender was changed for this production because of the immensely talented females who proved to deserve the lead role.

We also meet Miranda, Prospera’s daughter, played by Bethelly Jean Louis (‘17) for the red cast and Samantha Mautner (‘16) for the white cast. The pair has been stranded on an island for years and Miranda longs for human contact.

The play is centered around the two and a cast of characters is introduced to the island, which creates an, at times, humorous atmosphere, but also produces a bevy of problems for the duo.

The scenes with Trinculo and Stephano, two survivors of the shipwreck, proved to be hysterical, for the twosome are frequently drunk and always cracking jokes. Each character was unique in their own way, and even the ensemble was interesting to watch.

Stage manager Rachel Ackerman (’16) praises the cast and commends everyone for an amazing experience. As a senior, she aspires to do the same type of work in college, but she knows that this is going to be very hard to top.

“[I think] it’s the best show I’ve ever stage managed,” said Ackerman.  

Mautner said, “It is definitely different than anything I’ve ever done before.”

Co-stars Ben Levy (‘16) and Katie Aylesworth (‘16) agree that the rehearsal process went very smoothly and they compare it to past works, claiming that it has run a lot more efficiently than some other productions.

Levy said, “[Each actor has] incorporated [their] own personalities into the show,” which makes this production different than others.

Also making this adaptation unique, Mr. Gambino says, “We’ve added music, we’ve added dancing, and we’ve added projection work to give it a different sort of flavor.”

Natalie Chadwell (’16), who plays Trinculo, said her favorite part of the experience was learning to appreciate and understand Shakespeare, which she hadn’t done previously. She also enjoyed the sense of friendship and camaraderie among the actors and how well they worked together.

Overall, the cast and crew loved this show. Congratulations to all of the people who took part in making this production amazing.