Pre-Recorded Dialogue, Masks, and An Outdoor Show – MV Arts Gets Creative for The Tempest

Sep 10, 2020 | Come to Play, Fine Arts, Have Fun, Highlights, IMAMUSTANG, Innovation, Maverick, Upper School News

Production is underway in the Upper School as students prepare for their fall production of The Tempest. True to the MV arts creative nature, this show will be performed unlike any other before with all audio pre-recorded, and all performers masked for the entire show.

Director of Theater Arts Clark Taylor shares, “I wanted to create a piece that could be performed safely, observing the protocols set by Mount Vernon. What I came up with was an adapted version of The Tempest that is performed in protective masks and… theatrical masks!”

He continues, “We have these great masks that were made for us to perform in. It’s a hearken back to the days of Greek Theatre where the actors were all in masks, so it’s very kismet what we’re attempting with this show.”

To ensure the actors Shakespearean dialogue can be clearly heard, all dialogue, sound effects, and music are all being pre-recorded, and the actors will physically act our their lines as the play unfolds.

Class of 2021 Arden Adams shares, “The process is going very well right now! For many in the cast, it is their first time touching Shakespeare, so it has been fun for me to watch them step out of their comfort zones and try something new. I’m very excited for audiences to hopefully get a taste of how valuable Shakespeare still is. The stories he wrote and the way he told them were so incredibly ahead of his time. Whether his plays dealt with family, race, or feminism, those ideals are still important in today’s world.”

Arden is already well-versed in the world of Shakespeare. Earlier this year in February, she competed in the English Speaking Union Competition, winning First Place in the contest for the second consecutive year.

For many of the MV Allstars, this is their first time in the recording studio. Class of 2022 Jackson Aull shared, “I love working in the recording studio, it gives a new mindset to theater!”

Class of 2023 Miller Woodall added, “Recording vocals for the play isn’t what most of the cast members are used to, but it’s cool to add a new skill to the table!”

Class of 2022 Win Scott is no stranger to the stage at MV, and has enjoyed playing with, developing, and recording his voice for his character in The Tempest. He said of the performance, “We must use our body language to communicate our characters emotions to the audience. So far, it’s been a crazy and unpredictable production that has surprised me in how fun, creative, and incredible this show will be.”

While the audio-recording and use of masks throughout the show is new for these Mustangs, The Tempest is not new to the arts repertoire at Mount Vernon.

Ten years ago MV performers built a stage out of doors on the MAC footprint and performed the show outside, under the stars. And this year’s version of The Tempest will follow suit, also taking place outdoors.

Full 2020 The Tempest Cast List
Prospero – Arden Adams
Miranda/Ensemble #1 – Kat Petty
Ariel – Caroline Morrison
Caliban – Win Scott
Boatswain/Ensemble #2 – Amy Strudwick
Alonso/Ensemble #3 – William Nix
Ferdinand/Ensemble #4 – Jackson Aull
Gonzalo/Ensemble #5 – Audrey Brown
Antonio/Ensemble #6 – Addie Vogt
Sebastian/Ensemble #7 – Miller Woodall
Trinculo/Ensemble #8 – Sydney Tiffin
Stephano/Ensemble #9 – Warren Neel
Francisco/Ensemble #10 – Piper Hendryx
Adrian/Ensemble #11 – Nick Schweniger
Iris – Amy Strudwick
Ceres – Nick Schweniger
Juno – Piper Hendryx
Stage Manager – Shea Griffin
Crew – Zoe Embleton
Show Poster Designer – Jasmine George

The Tempest is slated to be performed September 30 – October 2. Stay tuned for further information on how you can watch The Tempest, and follow along with all MV Arts projects on their Twitter and Instagram.