OAK PARK, Illinois (CBS) – After holding onto virtual performances at the height of the pandemic, the Oak Park Festival Theater returned to the stage in person on Saturday night.
Back in Austin Gardens at 167 Forest Ave. in Oak Park, the theater company began its series of “The Storm” by William Shakespeare.
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The OPFT’s artistic director, Barbara Zahora, is leading the production, which will run until August 21 with staging at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and at 7 p.m. on Sundays.
The theater company notes that “The Tempest” features hurricanes and monsters, as well as themes of magic, chaos, love and revenge. It also explores “nuanced concepts of colonialism, power struggles and redemption,” the company noted.
“Although we chose this play long before the coronavirus and the murder of George Floyd changed our world so significantly, its themes of exile, injustice, power struggle, self-discovery and healing are all particularly resonant after last year, ”Zahora said in a press release. “As people start to come out of their homes and find a new normal post-pandemic, we hope this will be especially meaningful for those who see it for the first time.”
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The cast of this production of “The Tempest” includes Jeannie Afffelder as Antonia; Belinda Bremner as Gonzalo; Dakotah Brown as the ship’s captain, Francisco, and a spirit; Tony Buzzuto in the role of Sébastien; Matt Gall as Caliban; Noelle Klyce as Alonsa; Bernell Lassai as Ariel; Orion Seth Lay-Sleeper as Stephano; Savanna Rae as Trinculo; Deanalis Resto as Miranda; Kevin Theis as Prospero; Emily Sipora Tyler as Boatswain, Adrian and a Spirit; and Austyn Williamson as Ferdinand.
The theater company says unvaccinated visitors are advised to mask themselves. They can remove their masks when seated with their carrycot, but should have them on when entering, exiting, or using the toilet. All guests are requested to keep their seating modules at least six feet from neighbors.
Food and drinks are permitted, and guests can bring their own lawn chairs or blankets, or rent lawn chairs for $ 5.
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TTY machines are available on the Oak Park Festival Theater website.