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TCC Theatre presents “The Tempest” live in the Grove

Shakespeare in the Grove has been a Tidewater Community College tradition for 19 seasons. If you’ve never sat under the starry skies of Chesapeake and enjoyed Shakespeare live, this may be your last chance to see a production in the original “grove” location.

“With the campus expanding and adding a new parking structure and more buildings, we have to find a different spot to showcase Shakespeare,” said Ed Jacob, the creator and developer of Shakespeare in the Grove and the artistic director for the current production.
This year’s play, “The Tempest,” is Shakespeare’s last play, and while it is laced with magic, romance, monsters and buffoonery, there’s method in the madness. “This is one of my favorite works,” said Laura Agudelo, the play’s director. “You can see Shakespeare dealing with themes of forgiveness. And as it’s considered his goodbye work, it ties up loose ends in pretty packages.”
“The Tempest” runs June 25 – 29 with shows nightly at 8 p.m. in the wooded grove on TCC’s Chesapeake Campus, located on the east side of campus near Bells Mill Road. Admission is free and guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and bug spray. For more information call 757-822-5219.

Spirits rehearsing the storm scene
Spirits rehearsing the storm scene

TCC’s adaptation of “The Tempest” showcases TCC student actors and others working behind the scenes. Jacquelyne Anderson, who plays one of the spirits, is studying liberal arts and has hopes of pursuing a film degree at a four-year school. “It’s been amazing to learn about Shakespeare and experience his writing,” she said. “I find myself quoting lines to my friends constantly – ‘Shrug’st thou,’” she added with a laugh.

Eric Day, who plays Sebastian, decided to change his major from business to theatre after experiencing his first TCC production last year. “I love the people, the environment and telling stories,” he said.

Lien Tran who is working towards a technical theatre certificate says the hands-on learning has been valuable. She added, “Learning how to set up lights, string them together and program the whole thing – it’s been an eye opening experience.”
“The Tempest” begins with a storm, stylized by the physicality of the actors and a humongous white cloth. And while the storm is a physical presence, it also symbolizes a storm of emotions and a need to clear the air of wrongdoings.

The play’s main character, Prospero, was usurped by his brother and set adrift in a leaky boat with his young daughter Miranda. He eventually lands on an island inhabited by monsters and spirits. Prospero studies magic and manipulates the island’s creatures for his own good and tends to his daughter as best he can.

Upon learning that his evil brother is passing the island in a ship, Prospero conjures up a storm to wreck them on the island. The ship’s passengers find themselves marooned in a strange place and subjected to “magical” happenings all designed to expose their true character. One passenger is a handsome young man the same age as Prospero’s now mature, beautiful daughter. The fun really begins as the two interact.
TCC alum and assistant stage manager Zakiya McKinney says she developed a love of Broadway and live theatre while at TCC. “It’s been amazing to be part of this. We just started rehearsing outside and you can already see this play is a winner. You don’t want to miss it.”