A Play by Aimé Césaire
Translated from the French by Philip Crispin
Directed by Lanise Antoine Shelley
Featuring Isabel Ellison, Carson Elrod, Kimberly Exum, Manoel Felciano, Enid Graham, Isaiah Johnson, Anthony Michael Martinez, Paul Niebanck, Jay O. Sanders, Anthony Venturini, and C.J. Wilson
Celebrated poet and activist Aimé Césaire strikingly adapts Shakespeare's celebrated Jacobean play through a postcolonial lens. The characters and plot are largely unchanged. Prospero conjures a violent storm to drive his enemy’s ship ashore on the island on which he is exiled with his daughter. Césaire’s island is located specifically in the Caribbean and Caliban and Ariel, depicted here as black slaves to Prospero, are centralized. Their opposing voices echo Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Written in the tumultuous 1960s, A Tempest confronts complex intersections of race, power, and anti-imperialism with intelligence, wit, and beauty. This reading is directed by Lanise Antoine Shelley, the Artistic Director of Chicago's House Theatre and the 2021 Drama League Classical Directing Fellow.
The play is performed through arrangement with Georges Borchardt, Inc., for Aimé Césaire. All rights reserved.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
In Order of Appearance
Master of Ceremonies, Ariel & Eshu | Kimberly Exum
Gonzalo | Paul Niebanck
Antonio | Enid Graham
Sebastian | Manoel Felciano
Ferdinand | Anthony Michael Martinez
Miranda | Isabel Ellison
Prospero | Jay O. Sanders
Caliban | Isaiah Johnson
Alonso | C.J. Wilson
Trinculo | Carson Elrod
Stephano | Anthony Venturini
Aimé Césaire combined a political career as a Martinican statesman with a poetic calling in which he has been hailed as the leading Francophone poet of the 20th Century. Anti-colonialist visionary and prophet of negritude, his influence has been considerable in shaping on-going post-colonial debate.
Philip Crispin taught in Kingston, Jamaica, and spent four years in Paris studying, teaching. and pursuing theatrical projects. He was Literary Manager of the Gate Theatre before devoting himself to theatrical research.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Lanise Antoine Shelley (she/her) is the Artistic Director of The House Theatre of Chicago. She is a Haitian actress, director, playwright, and podcast host. Selected directing credits include: Just Cause (Defamation Experience), Pretended (written & directed for Paramount Theatre’s Inception Project), Blue Manakin (Rising Sun Performance Company), Rastas & Hattie, Black & Blue, Muthaland (16th St Theatre), Identity Lab (Lookingglass Theatre), The Tenant (Akvavit Theatre), RefuSHE Project (Voices & Faces Project), Rumors (DePaul University). She holds a BFA in directing, acting, and playwriting from Cornish College of the Arts, an MFA from ART/MXAT at Harvard University, a certificate in Classical Theatre from BADA in Oxford, England, and Birmingham Conservatory. She was Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s Chicago Fellow 2016 and Victory Gardens Theatre’s Directing Fellow 2019. Presently Lanise is the host of the podcast “When They Were Young: Amplifying Voices of Adoptees” available on all listening platforms. She is the 2021 Drama League Classical Directing Fellow. More.
ABOUT THE COLLABORATING ORGANIZATIONS
Located in the heart of New York City, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) is the country’s leading French language and cultural center. FIAF’s mission is to create and offer innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. We seek to generate new ideas and promote cross-cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of expression. Founded at the turn of 20th century, the French Institute and the Alliance Française de New York operated as two separate organizations, the first promoting French arts, the second teaching French. In 1971 they merged to form what has become one of the largest and most respected centers of French-American activities in the U.S: the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF). For nearly 120 years, FIAF has been the destination for starting, continuing, and perfecting French language skills in a supportive, immersive, and culturally-rich setting. Browse and register for classes here. Through an unparalleled range of cultural events including live performances, film screenings, panel discussions, wine tastings, and gallery exhibitions, FIAF invites New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds to engage with the best of French culture
The Drama League advances American theater by providing life-long artistic resources for directors and a platform for dialogue with audiences. Founded in 1916, as one of the longest-running arts service organizations in the country, we continuously adapt to meet artists’ needs in the expanding entertainment landscape. We enable directors to make the most powerful, impactful work possible, expand their skill across multiple mediums to reach broader audiences, and build thriving, sustainable careers. Uplifting directors of all economic classes, races, abilities, genders, and identities is a cornerstone of this mission. We provide support to directors throughout their artistic lives, and our work in education offers continued learning to professionals and introduces the skills of directing to young people. Underpinning our work is the support of our members, a community of ardent theater fans and industry professionals whose commitment to advancing the art form helps develop the careers of the talented directors we champion.