Douglas Ahlers gives talk about rebuilding efforts in New Orleans; John Lawson gives an artist's talk; Aimée Michel directs a student production of The Tempest
Three performances of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest will be presented at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Opening night is Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m., in the McConnell Theater of the Daniel Arts Center. This is followed by a second performance, Thursday, Nov. 8, also at 7:30, and a final performance on November 9 at 8 p.m.
The production is being directed by Aimée Michel, a former Shakespeare company director in New Orleans whose office and home were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. While this production is not about Katrina, it did grow out of that experience.
“I chose to direct The Tempest out of a belief in redemption and healing.” Michel says. “When Katrina happened in August, 2005, I was the artistic director of a professional Shakespeare theatre in New Orleans. Our theatre offices as well as my home were under over 6 feet of water for 6 weeks and we lost everything both at home and the office. All the archives for the theatre, all the files, etc....”
The following April the company was able to produce a play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, for New Orleans school children, but shortly before opening night the 42-year old actor who was to play Puck suddenly died as a result of a heart attack. The actor was also scheduled to play Prospero in The Tempest in the summer of 2006. But instead Michel decided to produce another play.
“And then I came to Simon's Rock. Now, two years after Katrina, I am finally ready to process all that happened, and the time finally felt right to direct The Tempest.”
The Tempest, says Michel, “is a play about a journey through terrible trauma towards healing and forgiveness. Prospero and his 3 year-old daughter are cast out to sea to drown by his own beloved brother. By good fortune, he lands on an island, which shelters him and provides for him and his daughter for 12 years. Once again, fortune presents him with the opportunity to come face to face with this brother and heal. It takes all of his power and courage to forgive this brother and heal. But he knows the healing will not happen without the forgiveness. This is the journey many of us affected by Katrina are taking.”
The play is not about Katrina, says Michel, “but certainly it is coming out of my artistic processing of that event.”
Related events on November 9
An afternoon/evening of New Orleans oriented events will take place on campus on November 9.
• At 4 p.m. in the Liebowitz Gallery, artist John Lawsonwill discuss his exhibit. This is work that focuses on his experiences of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. Lawson lost his home and much of his work under six feet of water. The work in this exhibit is some of what he was able to rescue and rework.
• At 6:15, alumnus Douglas Ahlers (’77) will discuss rebuilding efforts in New Orleans. Location TBA. Douglas Ahlers is a Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He is also at the forefront of efforts to rebuild the City of New Orleans. In 2006, he gave the commencement address at Simon's Rock, in which he discussed his experiences of the situation in New Orleans, and he urged students to get involved in the world around them.
• At 8 p.m., in the Daniel Arts Center, Aimée Michel will direct a student performance of The Tempest. Alumna Sara Katzoff and faculty member Karen Beaumont also perform in this production.
For information, call 528-7395.