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Sunday, 10 January 2016

‘Tempest’ Blows in Fair Winds of Arab-Israel Dialogue

*** Theatre fans in the Karmiel/Misgav region of Lower Galilee, Israel please note: The opening matinée performance of The Tempest is at the Beit Nir Theatre, Zichron Yaacov on  Sunday 03 April at 4.00 pm. Tickets/car pooling arrangements are available from Brian Fink. Contact him via:


TEMPEST.ADG.ISRAELSo, even British Prime Minister, David Cameron is a Shakespeare fan!

An opinion piece penned by him and published in early January by Israel’s Ynet News, emphasises how this year’s celebrations marking the quadricentennial of Shakespeare’s death are a chance to celebrate his continuing influence on international modern society and culture.

Staff at the Israeli universitites of Haifa and Tel Aviv must have had this in mind when they decided that their 2016 spring term English Literature curriculum would include The Tempest – believed to be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone.



An introduction by Grantly Marshall, Producer at the American Drama Group Europe:




Shakespeare’s last great masterpiece,
and the most magical story ever written.

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, our little lives are rounded with a sleep”. Shakespeare takes us on a dreamlike journey into the heart of the human condition.

”All life is here: love, revenge, power, lust, betrayal and forgiveness. Magical figures such as Ariel and Caliban rub shoulders with all too real politicians, kidnappers and murderers. Tragedy melts into comedy and music is everywhere on Prospero’s enchanted island. Shakespeare’s poetry is never finer than in this play but there is also the voice of drunken sailors and howling devils. This is Shakespeare’s final look at life, a life he portrayed with greater subtlety and depth than perhaps any other artist. To present the play without simplification or easy tricks is a great challenge, but Shakespeare’s theatrical skill matches his artistry and this is an accessible and popular masterpiece. You are supposed to laugh!

“Briefly the story centres on a magician, Prospero, exiled on a remote island with his daughter by his scheming brother. His old enemies are washed ashore in a storm (or tempest) that he conjures from the skies. Prospero has to choose between revenge and forgiveness. But his plans are undermined by the beast he civilised and then enslaved: Caliban. As Caliban mounts a murderous rebellion and Prospero’s daughter falls in love with the son of her father’s enemy, the play reaches a thrilling climax.

“TNT brings its unique style to bear on The Tempest. Mixing music with theatrical magic, dynamic physicality with a careful attention to text, clowning and poetry. The production is directed by Paul Stebbings whose Shakespeare productions have been seen around the globe over the last twelve years. The score by noted composer John Kenny will be performed live by the actors. Too often productions of Shakespeare’s greatest works are undermined by simplifications and directors or designers obscure interpretations. TNT seeks to illuminate the text rather than interpret it, to allow the audience into the play and tell its story with clarity - and theatricality. We hope you will join us for a this epic voyage iinto the heart of the greatest of all dramatic storms: The Tempest.”

The play is also among my personal favourites because, as ever, I am first seduced by the power of the poetry, that is at once majestic and mystical and then by the essential nobility of the chief characters, despite any hubristic flaws. To listen, for example, to the late British actor, John Gielgud reciting Prospero’s farewell speech is akin to drowning in honey!

Now as director Paul Stebbings and his talented team at ADG Europe-TNT Theatre Britain   return for another tour, Israeli audiences have an opportunity to see a cracking production of The Tempest at five different venues countrywide.

The tour  opens with a slightly curtailed matinée - to accommodate younger theatre fans – followed by an evening performance at Zichron Yaacov ‘s Beit Nir Theatre on Sunday 03 April.

What a shame that Mr Cameron is unaware that Israelis intend that this production of The Tempest should ‘blow in’ a strong dialogue between Jewish and Arab students. They saw this happen with previous  ADG-TNT shows and now, they add, “let's make it happen again with The Tempest!”

© Natalie Wood (10/12 January 2016) 

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