HFCC Tempest is Tremendous

Suchyta, Sue/Dearborn Times Herald/09 April. 2003: C 21

Henry Ford Community College has taken theater to a new dimension with its stereoscopic 3D presentation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” The theater arts department has parlayed a technology grant into a Virtual Theatricality Lab to produce stunning visual effects that are integrated right into the play. Director George Popovich has combined a talented cast, stunning special effects and a skillful edit of a classic play to deliver a riveting production.

Don’t shy away because it’s Shakespeare. Don’t turn away if you suspect the special effects outweigh the acting: they don’t. HFCC’s “Tempest” earns my must see recommendation: it’s that unique and amazing. Seeing is believing, but act fast: seating is very limited for the small studio built upon the Adray Auditorium stage.

The production is just over an hour long. Popovich edits the Bard’s script without hurting the storyline of “The Tempest.” The elements remain the same: A duke, a daughter, betrayal and redemption, with a love story thrown in for good measure.

Throughout the play, you see a number of captivating special effects through your 3D glasses. These effects represent Ariel, the island’s magical spirit as well as the mystical and mysterious landscape of frightening clouds and surreal landscapes. Creativity is evident throughout the production.

Greg Kjolhede is outstanding as Prospero, the deposed duke. His delivery and stage presence are captivating. He would mesmerize an audience even without the amazing high tech backdrop. Natasha Rose presents a spirited Miranda, while Jason Mercury outdoes himself as Caliban, the not quite human monster-servant of the enchanted island. Mercury’s gymnastics alone merit recognition and his makeup very effectively creates a monstrous persona. Joanna Graham provides delightful comic relief as Stephana, a drunken sailor wench on shore leave. Joshua Allen Mathes is amusing as Trinculo, her sidekick.

The show runs Wednesday to Saturday through April 26 at Adray Auditorium in the Mackenzie Fine Arts Center on the Henry Ford Community College Campus on Evergreen between Ford and Michigan in Dearborn. Ticket reservations are a must. Call 845-6475 for ticket information.

American College Theatre Festival-Regional Winner; Certificate of Merit: Digital Stage Crew: Alan Contino, Bob Biestek; Irene Ryan Nominations


  • Prospero: Greg Kjolhede
  • Ariel’s Voice: Joanna Eckmann
  • Caliban: Jason Mercury
  • Miranda: Natasha Rose
  • Antonio: Jason Thomas
  • Stephana:Joanna Eckmann
  • Gonzalo: Willie Kendal
  • Boatswain: James Sliewsenski
  • Alonzo: Victor Walker
  • Sebastian: Daniel Frederick
  • Human Ariel: Tara Umbarger

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