The black box venue suited the show in more ways than one. There were no weak points in this scaled down cast, though the bravura performance was delivered by Jasmine Bracey as Prospero. She brought such power to the role while never losing her warmth as a parent figure to both Ariel and Miranda. She was quite literally one of the best Prosperos I have ever seen, and I said as much in a social media post after the show (a post that was then liked by the actors playing Gonoril, Kent, and the Fool from King Lear—that’s my kind of multiverse, haha). The smaller venue gave Bracey the opportunity to explore all of the quieter aspects of a role that has traditionally been played for spectacle and bombast.
Even the one “problem” with the show—a blackout that caused a short five-minute delay—ultimately demonstrated the quality of this cast. The actors on stage had just lost technology—a necessary element for this show—in a scene that particularly needed it (Ariel’s appearance as a harpy). Rather than retreat backstage or break character, all of the performers remained in place, with Steven Jensen (Gonzalo) continuing his “lost in despair” movements and Sophia K. Metcalf (a delightful Ariel) maintaining a crouched pose that had my own back aching in solidarity. When it was clear that the delay would be a matter of minutes rather than seconds, the actors did re-set, but that kind of dedication in the face of technical trouble was impressive.