ARC theater department begins ‘The Tempest’ auditions


ARC Students (from right to left) Rhian Harris, Samantha Ara, Ariel Ryan and Josh Hooper practice their improv skills Sunday for auditions for American River College’s production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest. The production will run from April.22 through May.1. (Photo by Tyler M. Jackson)

Nicole Kesler and Timothy Lipuma

By Nicole Kesler and Timothy Lipuma

The American River College theater department began auditions for William Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ on Sunday.

Professor Tracy Martin Shearer is directing ‘The Tempest,’ which follows Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, who has been exiled to an island for the past 12 years with his daughter Miranda.

Through the use of magic, Prospero conjures up a tempest that strands his brother Antonio, who became the Duke of Milan after usurping Prospero, on the very same island.

The play is said to be one of the last works written exclusively by Shakespeare, with many believing Prospero’s character to be a reflection of Shakespeare himself.

Anyone was welcome to the open auditions, but all cast members will have to enroll in ARC’s theatre production class.

Those auditioning for roles in the play had to present a monologue and were also grouped together to interpret musical pieces from the play.

The production will have its music scored entirely by the cast members. Serena Holland, who has acted in ‘Skeleton Stories’ and will act in ‘Gumbo,’ spoke on her interest in being a part of Professor Shearer’s production of ‘The Tempest.’

“[Tracy] was wanting to bring together an ensemble cast with improv, musical instruments, and creating the show around that. That’s something I really like–I love organic shows,” said Holland.

Each character presents a particular tone that is expressed through sound, emotion, and movement. ARC students search for that connection with the characters they are auditioning for.

Matthew Johnston, who formerly acted in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ and ‘Three Musketeers,’ said “every time you want to audition you always want to choose a piece that resembles a character that you want to go for.”

Johnston, who also attended UCLA, had the opportunity to work with Tim Robbins, American actor and UCLA alum, for a quarter.

“Robbins really opened up my eyes to so many different avenues of acting. He opened up my eyes to a one character world,” said Johnston.

Robert Breec, a second semester student at ARC, is auditioning for the role of Stephano; he shared his tips for choosing an effective monologue.

“I look to see if they were categorized as the same genre as Shakespeare,” Breec said. “The character’s monologue that I picked matched the character I’m auditioning for. I tried to narrow it down so I would get the part.”

In addition to the acting roles, positions were open for assistant director and student choreographer.

Raven Bailey Jones, auditioning as an actor and assistant director, shared her thoughts on why Shakespeare is still performed today.

“Shakespeare is relevant because we are relevant,” Jones said. “Shakespeare wrote about all different kinds of relationships, about history, about us. We are what makes Shakespeare relevant.”

‘The Tempest’ will run from April 22nd through May 1st on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays during the evening, and on Sundays at 2 PM.