The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

The student-run news site of Le Moyne College.

The Dolphin

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Boot & Buskin’s “A Tempest” brings magic to the stage



Despite cutting it down, adding a few ingredients and making the subsequent title change, Matt Chiorini’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s final play has not been tampered with.

“I just want to reassure my colleagues in the English department,” Chiorini, assistant professor of theatre arts, said, “that Shakespeare’s ‘Tempest’ remains very much intact.”

Chiorini decided to take a much closer look at certain themes and elements while perusing Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” Sycorax, a typically unseen figure in the play, was a notable character.

“Sycorax is my favorite character,” Chiorini explained. “Her presence haunts the island [that the wizard Prospero is stranded on]. Amidst this comic romance/fairy tale is this vein of dark magic in Sycorax.

“Sycorax is the crux of the play,” he continued. “She influences one of Prospero’s ultimate decisions and becomes this real energy. I researched lots of pieces and poems that referred to her until we invented this whole scene [around her].”

According to Chiorini, when choosing a play for Boot & Buskin’s fall 2012 season, the answer seemed obvious.

“‘Tempest’ is Shakespeare, the writer (like Prospero, the wizard) at the pinnacle of his powers,” he  said. “It has some of the best romance, some of the best comedy and some of the best drama in any his shows, all here in this tight little package. It’s wonderful training for our actors, technicians, designers and for myself, and it’s a wonderful vehicle for theater legend Mike Barbour [who portrays Prospero].”

Considering it’s been three years since Boot & Buskin’s last Shakespeare production (“As You Like It” in the fall of 2009), Chiorini felt it was once again time to take on the world’s most famous playwright.

“It’s imperative that we keep revisiting him,” he noted. “I have a lot of experience acting, producing and directing Shakespeare, and I was eager to revisit the Bard.”

Unlike most recent Boot & Buskin productions, “A Tempest” emphasizes the visual and technical power of theater.

“Shakespeare’s been done so many times and as a director, I thought, ‘What can I do that someone hasn’t done better?’” Chiorini said. “KB [director of theatre and resident scenic designer Karel Blakeley] is a wonderful designer and this show invites him to open up all up of his imagination. It allows all of us to open our whole bag of tricks and present as much technical wizardry and theatrical trickery as possible. With such a talented group of students and collaborators, even the most jaded Shakespeare expert can say, ‘Well, I didn’t see that coming.’”

As the many students, faculty and alumni involved will attest, getting a strong hold on Shakespeare’s language is a challenge all its own.

“Shakespeare is difficult,” sophomore theater arts major Vincent Randazzo explained. “It’s sometimes harder to get an immediate read on the character, but once you get the lines down, it’s great to get lost in this magical world.”

Randazzo plays Stephano, “the drunken butler of King Alonso,” who encounters the characters Trinculo and Caliban and strives for power throughout the show.

“It’s much different than the character I played in ‘Around the World in 80 Days,’” Randazzo said. “Stephano is extremely loud and boisterous, and he loves life. It’s lots of fun to go nuts and abuse Trinculo.

“I love getting to work with Tyler [Sperrazza, who plays Caliban] and Bannen [Ryan Bannen, playing Trinculo] and knowing you’re going to laugh your ass off [working with them],” he continued. “Finding the comedy with them is now second nature. I also love how the different cast members flow together. It’s beautiful and magical to watch.”

As far as Chiorini is concerned, when it comes to “A Tempest,” “magic” is the name of the game.

“I hope that audiences will appreciate the real genius of Shakespeare and the extraordinary lengths this cast and crew went to,” he said. “Most of all, I hope they have the same experience they did when going to see a show for the first time as a child – when everything was magic.”

“A Tempest” starts its run with a $1 student preview Thursday, Oct. 25 at 8 p.m. followed by performances Oct. 26-27, and Nov. 1-3. There will also be a matinee performance Saturday, Nov. 3 at 2 p.m. All performances will take place at the W. Carroll Coyne Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $5 for students. To make reservations, visit, call (315) 445-4200 or visit the PAC box office (hours are 4-7 p.m.,Monday through Friday).

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