Abandoned on an island for 12 years, the magician Prospero conjures up a storm to seek revenge on the sibling who stole his crown. Can these castaways figure out how to let go of their pasts and work together to realize the “brave new world” his daughter Miranda believes possible?
“The Tempest,” William Shakespeare’s titanic fairy tale is the culmination of all the tricks he conjured up to make his poetry withstand the test of time — a usurped and tortured ruler, a pair of star-crossed lovers, silly but crafty clowns, mischievous lackeys, and a cluster of supernatural creatures. The play continues at Quintessence Theatre Group through April 2.
Making his debut at the theater is actor/singer Langston Reese, originally from Cheltenham and now living in New York.
“In the beginning it never really dawned on me that I could become an actor or a singer,” Reese remembers. “In fact, I was always a shy kind of guy, although I loved to sing all the time but only around my house.
“But as I got older, I wanted to move into the more creative world and away from the nine-to-five routine.”
At college in the University of Pittsburgh, Reese started to slowly realize that dream. Originally a marketing major, he had once taken a theater class that whet his appetite. By his senior year, when his friend asked him to audition for a play that was being cast, Reese agreed.
“And surprisingly,” Reese says, “I got a role in the play and that experience opened my eyes as to the possibilities.”
By his senior year, he began acting more and more, and after college he moved back to Philly to study his newfound craft at the Philadelphia Acting Studio. Later he moved to New York to further his studies at the Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute.
In “The Tempest” Reese has the dual role of Ferdinand and Sebastian. He describes Ferdinand as the “love interest of the play. After being shipwrecked on the island he meets and falls in love with Miranda. He’s a fun character to play.
“On the other hand, Sebastian is nothing like Ferdinand,” Reese continues. “Sebastian is the antithesis of Ferdinand. He’s a cunning and sly sort of man.”
Over the years, Reese has worked on a variety of projects. Some of his favorites include Emperor Joseph in “Marie Antoinette,” Orpheus in “Eurydice,” and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King in “The Mountaintop.”
“I’ve come to love doing Shakespeare. In fact, I love doing every role I’ve ever gotten, and I hope to do even more in the future. But my real goal is to go on someday to do film and TV work, although, believe me, for now I’m quite content with what I’m doing.”
He says, “Who can deny that the best part of what I do is getting paid to do something I love doing so much — something I’ve loved doing since I was a kid but never thought was possible.
“And,” he concludes, “What a better thing to do than give people something they can truly enjoy and have fun with. What a beautiful gift I have been given that I can give to others.”
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