Valparaiso’s Central Park Plaza was jam-packed with smiles, food, and music on the evening of Friday, July 8. The crowd anxiously and patiently waited for Chicago Street Theatre’s debut of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The audience was made up of citizens of all ages, demonstrating the inclusive nature of the production.
Chicago Street Theatre Director of Development Kelly Hite said, “The Tempest was one of Shakespeare’s last plays. It’s a fun, magical show that’s great for the family. We’re performing it today in the park to bring attention to theatre and the arts within Valparaiso.”
For the past five years, Chicago Street Theatre has been performing a Shakespeare production in the park. Chicago Street hopes to acquaint more citizens with the arts that Valparaiso and the Northwest Indiana community fosters. The actors come from several different areas in the region and perform in other plays, as well.
Chicago Street Theatre Volunteer Rea Robinson said, “Both my daughter and I are very active in theatre. ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ is something completely different that differentiates Chicago Street Theatre from other groups. Northwest Indiana theatre is a very tight-knit community, so we’re happy to be able to spread our support.”
Organizations in Valparaiso did not turn a blind eye to the event. In fact, several organizations were thrilled to offer their support to make the arts more visible in our community. These include Urschel Laboratories, John W. Anderson Foundation, City of Valparaiso, Centier Bank, Computer Services, Inc., Regional Federal Credit Union, Indiana Humanities, Thorgren Tool & Molding, ValpoLife, Doelling Decorating Center, Airport Road Dental Associates, Mark Ennes, Merrill Lynch, and Simko Signs.
Chicago Street Theatre Director of Marketing Eric Brant said, “Chicago Street Theatre has had one of its best years yet. It’s amazing to see the community come together and celebrate theatre. Valparaiso is making positive strides in attempt to draw attention to the arts.”
Shakespeare’s The Tempest focuses on Prospera, Duchess of Milan, who has been usurped and exiled by her own sister to a remote island with only her daughter, Miranda, her spirit servant, Ariel, and the monstrous Caliban. Upon learning to summon the enchanted place’s magic, the banished duchess brings her plans for revenge to fruition by creating a storm to lure her sister’s ship to the island. Filled with spectacle, it is Shakespeare’s late masterpiece of forgiveness, generosity, and enlightenment.
Karli-Anne Innes, the lead playing Prospera, told us, “The way the play is written is that the women are silenced and are portrayed as naive. However, in our rendition, the women are set free. My favorite theme embedded in the play is forgiveness.”
The hard work that the volunteers put into the production is incredible. The production itself was a demonstration of the drive and commitment citizens who are passionate about the arts have. Events such as Shakespeare in the Play allow for every citizen to get a taste of what rich art Valparaiso has to offer.
Set designer Jessie Howe added, “Lisa, one of the directors, wanted to keep the setting of the play true to the Renaissance period. We had a great time exploring the different elements that made up that time period. The set truly allows the actors to feel their part.”
Valparaiso yet again never fails to impress. Be sure to catch The Tempest at Chicago Street Theatre within the coming weeks!