PTHS Players’ ‘The Tempest’ runs through mid-May weekends

By Kirk Boxleitner
Posted 5/8/24



Although “The Tempest” is thought to be one of the last plays that William Shakespeare wrote, for a number of the Port Townsend High School Players, it’s …

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PTHS Players’ ‘The Tempest’ runs through mid-May weekends




Although “The Tempest” is thought to be one of the last plays that William Shakespeare wrote, for a number of the Port Townsend High School Players, it’s represented their return to theater.

Of the four cast members interviewed by The Leader, almost all had pursued some form of acting when they were younger, only to take a break from the stage as they approached adolescence, but the energy of the PTHS Players, and the promise of connecting with others, drew them back into the craft.

Junior Char Santerre, who juggles a dual role as Gonzalo and Ceres, admitted that COVID played a part in her intermission from the stage, while senior Hunter Havens, who plays Caliban, quit acting shortly before high school, to ensure that the lifelong pursuit was a genuine desire, and junior Zen Cook, who plays Stefano, responded to a slowdown in theatrical opportunities by taking up soccer for a while.

Senior Izzabella Stevensen, who plays Ariel, ultimately spoke for her castmates when she asserted how the actors’ onstage chemistry is empowered by how much “everybody here genuinely likes each other,” and yet, at the same time, “when we get into character, we get into character.”

Santerre, who’s also worked on live music for the production with senior Elijah Hill — previously profiled by The Leader for organizing a 12-member band for his senior project — suggested that a number of adults might underestimate student productions, since she attested to personally being told, after past PTHS Players productions, that those audience members wished they’d started attending the high school’s plays sooner.

Santerre acknowledged that Shakespearean dialogue can be “a little tricky,” but she touted the playful and magical aspects of “The Tempest” as running counter to the occasionally dour perceptions that audiences might harbor about Shakespeare.

Cook noted that “The Tempest” features not only romance and tragedy, but also a generous amount of comedy, which is why Santerre considers “The Tempest” an effective introduction to Shakespeare, since “it has everything he liked to write about, all in one play.”

Chris Pierson, the faculty member who rides herd over the PTHS Players, praised “The Tempest” for its narrative arc of vengeful feelings giving way to forgiveness, which he said “makes it the opposite of the Scottish play,” following theatrical convention by refusing to name the other Shakespeare production.

Pierson also appreciates the parallels between Prospero’s renunciation of magic and Shakespeare’s farewell to the stage, but more than anything, he said, “I love its language, and it’s got great characters.”

The PTHS Players’ production of “The Tempest” is scheduled to be shown in the PTHS auditorium at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 10, and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 12, then again at 7 p.m. on both Friday, May 17, and Saturday, May 18, with its final showing at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 19.