The Yavapai College Performing Arts Center will be filled with Shakespearean actors one night and silly pirates the next for performances of “The Tempest” and “Pirates of Penzance.”
Trent Dahlin, the actor playing Prospero in Utah Shakespeare Festival’s production of “The Tempest” said he’s been working with the festival as an actor for about two and a half years.
“I grew up in Cedar City watching the Shakespeare Festival,” Dahlin said. “One of the first Shakespeare plays I ever saw was a production that this very tour did. It was being exposed to it at a young age that really drew me to it.”
Dahlin said Shakespeare’s timeless understanding of human nature can persuade audiences to empathize with even the most villainous of characters. In Shakespeare’s era, audiences would have been pretty racist and anti-Semitic, Dahlin said. Yet, this playwright was able to make his audiences feel for Shylock and Othello, too, Dahlin said.
“Even if the character’s not particularly villainous, if they’re out of our group, then it still takes work for a normal person to relate to that sort of character,” Dahlin said. “But he makes it happen.”
The Utah Shakespeare Festival’s production of “The Tempest” is set for 7 p.m. Monday, March 5, at the Yavapai College Performing Arts Center, 1100 E. Sheldon St. Tickets are $25 with a $3 service fee added to each purchased ticket and are available online at www.ycpac.com or by calling the box office at 928-776-2000.
When getting into character, Dahlin said he tries to find out what it is the character wants to achieve. The hardest part about playing Prospero is the character is 20 years older than Dahlin and the father of a 14-year-old daughter, Dahlin said. It’s a challenge to find similar experience in life to relate to, he said.
“As for Shakespeare in general, the trick is to figure out what it means and to make sure you can really feel those feelings,” Dahlin said. “You see Shakespearean characters saying things that you think no real person could ever mean. When Romeo vows his love to Juliet, you think, oh no one could ever love someone that much, but you can and all of us have.”
Following the Utah Shakespeare Festival is the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, on stage at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 8, to present the ever popular “The Pirates of Penzance.” The company’s mission is to perform Gilbert & Sullivan throughout the United States, said executive director David Wannen, who also plays the Pirate King in this production.
“The Pirates of Penzance” is fun for kids, their parents and their grandparents, Wannen said.
“I saw my first ‘Pirates of Penzance’ when I was four years old,” he said. “Kids can identify with soft-hearted pirates and cowardly policemen and all the funny characters and also the fun that Gilbert is poking at people in society and their jobs and that sort of thing.”
An enduring story with great characters and music, the show leaves audiences in high spirits lifted, Wannen said.
Tickets are $32, $44, $59 and $10 for youth under 18 with a $3 service fee added to each purchased ticket and are available online at www.ycpac.com or by calling the box office at 928-776-2000.