Exeter students produce and star in a production of The Tempest at the Oxford Playhouse
Shakespeare’s well-known tale of betrayal and magic on an isolated island recently received a new adaptation at the Oxford Playhouse. Directed by Exeter’s own Costi Levy (2019, Spanish and Philosophy), this production delved below the surface of Shakespeare’s text, bringing to the foreground the systemic oppression and ecological exploitation that is often glossed over in the story of one brother’s betrayal, and another brother’s revenge.
Alongside Costi, recent Exeter alumnus Rosa Chalfen (2019, English) acted as dramaturg and assisted in developing the concept for this production. In adapting The Tempest, not only did an ecological reading of the play inform the production, but the central character of Prospero was recast as Prospera, asking the audience to question the moral complexity of the gendered power dynamics within both the original text and the play performed in front of them.
Exeter involvement didn’t stop there, however, with Daniel McNamee (2020, Classics and English) starring as the comically drunken Stephano, Izzy Kori (2021, Fine Art) on set and props design, and Lucas Ipkendanz (2020, Chemistry) as associate lighting, attesting to the rich community of dramatists within Exeter College. Between both the actors and aesthetic of the performance, the play was thick with life and emotion in their depiction of a living, breathing island teeming with magical whispers, flashes of power, and emotive scenes of familial forgiveness and romantic love.
Speaking of her experience directing the play, Costi attests to the ‘absolute privilege it has been to collaborate with so many energised, creative, and talented students on this project. Every person involved has brought something of their own to the production, and contributed to creating a team which buzzes with imagination and ambition.’
A huge well done to everyone involved in a wonderful, thought-provoking production of The Tempest.