While the Target Margin Theater’s new production of “The Tempest” is unlikely to be the most well-acted version you’ve ever seen of Shakespeare’s final drama, this curiously strange production is fascinating to watch.
Shakespeare’s play concerns Prospero, a former duke who presently is stranded on a desert island with his virginal daughter. He uses his magic to get revenge on the nobles who forced him to leave his home, shipwrecking their boat during a violent storm and trapping them on the island.
The black-box theater space at HERE has been transformed into a miniaturized version of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, with the audience seated on three sides of a wooden platform.
During the prologue, the theater transforms into a replica of an intimate, old-fashioned auditorium. It almost makes the audience feel as though it’s traveling back in time.
Other interesting touches include video-game sound effects and extremely low lighting that is reminiscent of footlights lit by candle.
Alas, David Herskovits’ production, which runs about two hours without an intermission, rushes through too much of the text at a frantic pace.
The diverse cast lacks uniformity in their performances. Most of them adopt stylized melodramatic poses when they speak. This ridiculous choice is more annoying than amusing, and you can’t help but wonder how the actors can hold such rigid positions for such a long time.
If you go: “The Tempest” plays through May 27 at HERE. 145 Sixth Ave., 212-352-3101, here.org.