The Tempest

The Landing,

11/02/2012 - 11/02/2012

Taha Awa - Riverside Gardens,

03/03/2012 - 03/03/2012

Old Library Art Centre, Whangarei

20/01/2012 - 22/01/2012

The Olive Grove,

24/03/2012 - 24/03/2012

Production Details

Platform Thirteen’s production of The Tempest features veteran Northland performers Alister Williams and Sheri O’Neill as Prospero and Ariel, with original music for Shakespeare’s songs composed by Fred Renata and performed by the cast. Caliban is played by 2010 Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival winner Karam David, recently returned from performances atStratford-Upon-Avonand the Globe.

Director Lilicherie McGregor brings her many years of theatre practice to the production, including experience as an assistant director for Eugenio Barba’s famous Odin Teatret inDenmark. Her innovative refashionings of Shakespeare’s works are well-known throughoutNew Zealand.

Platform Thirteen’s The Tempest performed
indoors at The Old Library, Whangarei,
on 20, 21 & 22 January 2012,
and outdoors at The Landing, Paparoa,
on 11 February 2012.
Bring a blanket, a cushion & a picnic tea. 
Picnic from 5pm, performance at 6pm. 

Rain day is the next day, Sunday. In the event of tempestuous or uncertain weather, patrons are invited to call us from midday on the day for postponement details or alternative indoor venue.

The production then tours Northland outdoor venues through the summer/autumn. Upcoming dates are:
3 March: Taha Awa – Riverside Gardens, Dargaville
24 March: The Olive Grove, Mangawhai
with further indoor performances to be confirmed for the winter.

Enquiries:, 09 431 6907





Vivid, provocative and thoughtful

Review by Mark Houlahan 14th Feb 2012

When you think ‘Summer Shakespeare’, you think of picnics outdoors, white wine & strawberries,  with a loose and relaxed playing (and viewing) style. Platform Thirteen’s Tempest asks us to think again. I saw the show on a sweltering Whangarei night in the studio space of the Old Library Art Centre.

The production was certainly entertaining, but was throughout gripping and intense, showing great commitment to character and language. Actors and audience squeezed in to a space no bigger than say 5 metres squared. The acting space defined was a square mat of sand, an apt beachy location for this great drama of the colonists and indigenous inhabitants of a magical island, perfect for a production touring Northland, where sea, sand and light are ever present. Then too it was clearly designed to evoke the simplicity of the Brook carpet shows in hisParistheatre.

This is a pocket Tempest, with six actors and skeleton crew. The action is trimmed back. The tedious court party is removed from the play, though the Italian clowns Stephano and Trinculo remain. Director Lilicherie McGregor has focused on the islanders: the settlers, Prospero and his daughter Miranda, and the ‘natives’ of the isle, Ariel and Caliban. Will the shipwrecked Ferdinand happily marry the daughter? Or will Caliban get to legitimise his lust? In this telling, Caliban, played with swaggering confidence by Karam David, has plainly erotic intentions towards Miranda.

Above all this becomes Ariel and Caliban’s play. The intention here is political; McGregor’s cutting emphasizes the struggle for sovereignty the play wages. In the light of current debates, this only makes sense.

But you should not think the play has been aridly politicised. The characters have been fully fleshed out, a tribute to the long rehearsal process used. The tiny stage makes it possible to catch every nuance, and observe even the beads of sweat on the backs of the actors. The production is alive to the beauty of the text. This isle is “full of noises”; a terrific soundscape has been provided, all played live; the lovely songs from the play are generously served by Fred Renata’s music.

In a unique touch, all of Ariel’s lines are sung, unaccompanied, by Sheri O’Neill. Ariel becomes a quasi human jazz diva, if you like, or a drag queen stayed out too long in the subtropical sun. The production ends in close up on Caliban and Ariel. What will happen when the invaders go home? A question still to be answered.

The production is vivid, provocative and thoughtful. The interpretation constantly rearranged my sense of what to do with very familiar lines. There are two more stops in this summer’s tour, and the plan is to travel the production for several more years. It is well worth seeking out. It firmly dispels the thought that the ‘action’ in New Zealand theatre might only be found within blocks of Courtenay Place.  


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