Arts and Culture, Astoria, Event, Theater
Mar 27, 2015

Immersive Shakespeare Storms Into Astoria with “The Tempest”

What do you get when you mix Shakespeare, audience immersion, and cabaret-style singing? First Day Productions‘ The Tempest, performing through Tuesday at various locations throughout Astoria. I attended Thursday evening’s opening (…)

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What do you get when you mix Shakespeare, audience immersion, and cabaret-style singing? First Day Productions‘ The Tempest, performing through Tuesday at various locations throughout Astoria.

I attended Thursday evening’s opening night performance at QED, and was charmed by the eccentricity of the project. Since the show is popping-up at five different neighborhood venues in less than a week’s time, each evening will be fresh and spontaneous, with very limited site-specific rehearsal time or tech. Greeted by a cast member (in character) before walking in the venue, it was immediately clear that this wouldn’t be a stuffy, intellectual night of theater.

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Photo credit: David Ledoux

The Tempest tells the tale of a man named Prospero, who has been living in exile on a magical island with his daughter for the past twelve years. The former Duke of Milan, Prospero plots revenge on his brother, who betrayed and exiled him to usurp his position. In this production, musical performances were sprinkled throughout the dialogue, including a rousing version of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” and a sweet-but-slightly-unsettling rendition of The Shirelle’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”

The set was bare bones and costumes were funky, leaving just the right amount to the imagination. The actors weaved in and out of the audience throughout the show, occasionally interacting with those in their seats. The unpredictable-ness of the performance kept us on our toes, as it was always a possibility to be handed a prop or to shake an actor’s hand. The performers brought the story to life, transporting the audience from our barroom seats to Shakespeare’s magical island.

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Photo credit: David Ledoux

If you’re a fan of The Tempest, I can guarantee you’ve never seen it like this before. And with the production taking place in a different venue almost every night, no two performances will be the same. It’s exciting to see work like this happening in Astoria, and I definitely recommend it as a quirky night of theater.

The schedule for the remainder of the run is as follows. All tickets can be purchased here.

  • Friday, March 27th: QED, 7 p.m., 27-16 23rd Avenue
  • Saturday, March 28th: The Secret Theatre: 4:30 p.m., 44-02 23rd Street (LIC)
  • Sunday, March 29th: The Pop Bar, 8 p.m., 12-21 Astoria Blvd
  • Monday, March 30th: Front Toward Enemy, 8 p.m., 40-11 30th Avenue
  • Tuesday, March 31st: Tantra Lounge, 8 p.m., 35-50 31st Sttreet

For more information on First Day Productions, check out their website!

About Lindsay Goyette

Lindsay has been eating and drinking her way through Queens since 2011. A casting director by day and Astoria explorer by night, you can usually find her checking out live music, theatre, or the newest neighborhood spot to enjoy a craft beer.

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