"Firing up the lights in their souls..."THE TEMPEST by William Shakespeare was his last play. He wrote it when he was 50. Clearly, it is a piece where he seems to reconcile himself to his life. In looking back on his spectacular and prolific writing career, in this work Shakespeare surrenders to the simplicity and profundity of mercy and forgiveness. Shakespeare died two year after writing The Tempest. He was 52. In this, our fifth season of Shakespeare Comes to (716), we herald our growth and our talented teens by taking on this singular play. A weather “tempest” sets the stage for the main character Prospero [“Prospera” in our rendition] to make peace with her personal “tempest”. We do not begin this or any season with the text, exegesis of Shakespeare or character analysis. We begin the journey of developing each play with an expressed vision for and about our actors--the beautiful teens of “Peace.” The true work of building a play begins in firing up the lights in their souls by engaging their bodies through dance and breathing meditations to feel more deeply safe and alive. The rehearsal process is a journey of the teen actors life “thus far”. The genius of this play is the opportunity that it provides for actors (and audience members) to look deeply inside and wrestle with substantial questions. Through The Tempest, our teens and staff—and hopefully the audience--will explore the bedrock experience of mercy and it’s bright, beautiful child: forgiveness. Learning to forgive is crucial for the betrayed and marginalized children of our society. The only young people that we’ve seen truly recover from traumatic youth experiences are those who can grapple with loss, forgiveness and rehabilitation though the hope and grace of Christ. In other words, those who say “yes” to God’s love. Shakespeare’s farewell to the stage The Tempest is more magical, more experimental and more personal than anything he had written previously. It is a deeply emotional work and so our fifth season promises nothing less than to heartily engross and entertain you. We hope you’ll be there to witness this feast of teenage accomplishment amid a city struggling with a 47% high school graduation rate. Where else would you want to be July 19, 20, 21 and 22? For updates and photos of Shakespeare rehearsals, 'like' us on Facebook.