Shakespeare’s magic island

The Tempest opens Friday evening at the Mariner Theatre

Pier One Theatre opens William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” on Friday Oct. 6. Performances run this weekend and next. The cast of approximately 20 Homer locals range in age from 11 to older than 70.

Shakespeare’s final solo-authored play begins with a ship caught in a storm conjured by Prospero, the exiled duke of Milan, on an unknown island in the Caribbean. The duke had there made a home for himself and his daughter Miranda with assistance from the island’s only native inhabitant, Caliban.

Director Maynard Smith chose to direct the play after a Pier One second Sunday group Shakespeare reading.

Cast members Sarah Brewer, Kathleen Gustafson and Michael Selle met to talk about the experience of preparing for the show, anticipation of audience on opening night and some of the major themes that show up throughout the text of the play. Selle plays the character of Caliban and Brewer plays one of the goddesses and a mariner. Gustafson plays Prospero.

“The first scene is really what sets the tone for the whole show because of the shipwreck. So the technical theater involved in that part of the play is probably the highest,” Brewer said.

Gustafson concurred and wants the audience to know that it morphs into something else that the audience will have to come see.

Brewer notes that the play is full of themes such as freedom, betrayal, revenge, forgiveness and reconciliation.

“That’s really how Maynard started this whole experience for the actors. He wanted us to come in and examine what freedom means for each of our characters,” Selle said.

Other cast members in the show include Rob Johnson, Kyle Schneider, Brian Duffy, Peter Norton, Ken Landfield, Michael Selle, Deb Rowzee, Carolyn Norton, Maynard Smith, Val Sheppard, Robamme Stading, Kathy Stingley, Cara Long, Miranda Green, Meaghan McCallum, Adele Person, Katherine Brennan, William Trevor Long and Rachel Ostler.

Brewer and Selle attended Suzanne Bishop’s sophomore English class on Monday to introduce the play and read through an abridged version of it. Pier One provided comp tickets for the students and many students are looking forward to attending, according to Bishop.

The two-and-a-half hour play will perform on the Mariner stage Oct. 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 8 at 2 p.m. The play will show Oct. 13 and 14 at 7 p.m.