Fall Play: The Tempest

Alex Lau and Yi Ling Sha

This year, Lexington High School’s fall play, a production of William Shakspeare’s The Tempest, was held from Nov. 17-19. The play follows the story of Prospero, a sorcerer and rightful Duke of Milan, when he conjures up a storm to shipwreck the King of Naples, the King’s son Ferdinand, and Prospero’s traitorous brother, Antonio. The play conveys a comedic yet gripping story about magic, betrayal, love, and forgiveness.

 Preparing for the play required significant work from both the performers and the crew. Students in the play rehearsed every day right after school, sometimes for long hours. Production members who weren’t performing directly in the play—costume crew, lighting crew, painters & carpenters, and stage hands—also put in immense efforts to bring the play to life.

“So much passion and care goes into each costume piece, and it’s not easy. Sometimes we really have to buckle down and sweat to get the tougher things done,” Nicole Liao, a member of the costume crew, said. 

However, the production also faced many challenges. Because there weren’t enough male actors in the cast, some male roles were played by female students. Prospero, for example, played by Anna Kefalas, was changed into Prospera for the LHS production. Gender bending was a common practice in Shakespeare’s time. Other roles, such as the roles of Trinculo (Sophie Sommers) and Stephano (Hattie Fisher), were not genderbent but were played by female actors. 

Performers also faced difficulties memorizing due to the play’s usage of Shakespearean English. Actors still needed to spend significant time outside of school rehearsing the specific terminology and strict line structures. Furthermore, because the language is difficult for modern audiences, actors must ensure their actions and gestures help communicate the scene.   

“[The audience isn’t] going to get every word, so we’re going to be using a lot of gestures,” Aman Verma, a freshman who played a courtier in the play, said. 

The production faced these challenges head on. For example, if actors had trouble connecting with their characters, the cast did character building exercises, which helped actors better interpret their roles. 

“We did a character building activity at one point, and it was a magical moment for me. I credit it with why I was able to reconnect and feel good about the job I was doing,” Lila Sandler, a senior who played Miranda, said. 

On an individual level, the play allows actors to flourish as they step out of their normal roles to become someone else. 

“When onstage playing [Miranda,] I feel so utterly loved and get to wholly commit myself [to] feeling love for everyone around me. It’s beautiful,” Sandler said.  

On the whole, the fall play brings together students from diverse backgrounds, creating one large caring community that brings the joys of theater to LHS.

“What’s most rewarding is that we put a lot of time and effort into this. As a result, people see this finished product and people have a good time. Then, we have a good time performing it,” Steve Qi, a junior actor in the play, said.