Teller and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater have a hit on their hands with The Tempest. Labeled “Shakespeare’s most magical play,” the Windy City critics have fallen hard for Teller’s take on the play.
Chicago television station WTTW interviewed Teller and the creative folks with whom he has worked to stage The Tempest at the Navy Pier. The production is set in a traveling tent-show during the Dust Bowl and the unique stage allows the audience to be on three sides while the illusions are performed.
Teller is not adding tricks to a show but bringing the classic story to life through magic.
He explained, “One of the challenges of Shakespeare for a contemporary audience is to make clear all of these ideas that are sometimes realized only in the language, and since the language is hundreds of years old it helps to assist that language with strong visual things. For this show, which is about magic, supporting that with magic that is visual really helps to clarify what’s going on.”
Through the integrated illusions, Teller allows the audience to see the effects the exiled Duke of Milan character performs to befuddle and battle his foes.
Magic, says Teller, gets its edge because “it’s not a comfortable form to watch. You don’t just sit back and let magic wash over you because it’s seriously contradicting all your experience, so what you see is coming into collision with what you know and there’s a sort of explosion that’s very exciting, but it also jars you out of your seat. You don’t watch a magic event like this [strikes a relaxed pose] you watch it on the edge because you’re watching both as a complicit participant and as somebody who’s trying to catch it out, and the excitement of that tension gives it a whole different way to watch a show.”
We pride ourselves on being very uncomfortable to watch – even when not performing magic. Just eating spaghetti can be unnerving to witness.
Our beloved Cubs are in the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and Teller’s The Tempest is at the Navy Pier – magic is in the air.
Check out the full article on Teller and The Tempest here.