An experimental intermedia performance inspired by The Tempest, Shakespeare's mystical masterwork

Living in the Tempest

An experimental intermedia performance inspired by Shakespeare’s mystical masterwork

May 4 & 5, 2018
Irvine Barclay Theatre

4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, CA 92612


Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

Arthur C. Clarke

One of his most frequently produced plays, William Shakespeare’s mystical masterwork The Tempest has spawned numerous adaptations and derivative works, including operas, films, novels and visual art.

Living in the Tempest is the culminating event in Vortex, a 2016–2018 series of performance projects in California and Italy, developed in collaboration with a transdisciplinary international group of artists, scholars and students. We use fragments from The Tempest, along with other sources, as inspiration to reflect on relationships between humans and oceans. Situating ourselves on Shakespeare’s mysterious island, we respond to contrasts and complexities of the coastal interface through interactive digital media linked with music, dance and theatre.

We present Prospero as a wizard of contemporary technology, using hisher skills to create advanced technical systems (these are portrayed as “magic” in Shakespeare’s text) which are intended to improve the natural environment in various ways. While hisher intentions might be good, these “improvements” inevitably bring with them some unexpected and unwelcome outcomes. Note the gender neutral pronoun “hisher” (pronounced hish-er). This is to reinforce our interpretation of Prospero (and Ariel, Caliban, et al) as entities for whom gender is not a defining characteristic.

Our concept takes notice of the developing planetary crisis driven by the rapidly evolving human capacity to alter ocean systems. We rely upon The Tempest as a framework to help us consider how a lack of attention to crucial values combined with unquestioning acceptance of accepted forms of rational thought can create an unhealthy dependence on ill-considered technological “solutions.” In this context, we want to use aspects of the human-ocean relationship to demonstrate and illuminate ways in which the human desire to transform our environment is unleashing destructive forces that endanger the world and everything in it, including ourselves.

Creative Team

Director & Media Design
John Crawford

Scenic Design
Dipu Gupta

Lighting Design
Stacy McKenny Norr

Stage Manager
Kelly Musgrove

Assistant Stage Manager
Alyssa Corella

Technical Director
Bruce Warner

Technical Consultant
Fabio Paolizzo

Production Manager
Keith Bangs

Assistant Production Manager
Shih-Wei Wu

Skye Schmidt

Jennifer Lott, Lisa Naugle, Tong Wang

Assistant Choreographer
Kira Bessey

Katerina Christhilf, Beau Foley, Claire Goldes, Elizabeth Katsnelson, Cara Laughlin, Jacob Macher, Zach Manske, David McMahan, Anna Olson, Simrin Player, Alex Policaro, Rongna Su, Meng Tian, Sophia Vangelatos, Rachel Walton, Mariano Zamora

Costume Design
Dianne Graebner, Ashton Montgomery, Kathryn Poppen

Costume Design Assistant
Lauryn Moles

Costume Stitchers
Jenny Clark, Jacob P. Brinkman

Costume Shop Manager
Julie Keen-Leavenworth

Composer & Violinist
Mari Kimura

Amanda Cheung, Seo Hyeon Ko, Elijah Liu, Caleb Salguero

Piano Mentors
Lorna Griffitt, Nina Scolnik

Omar Costa Hamido

Video Director
Jane Page

Video Actors
Stephen Barker, Gavin Cameron-Webb, Chad Watkins, Kelsey Deroian, Brooke Morris, Becca Rowland, Maya Smoot, Grace Theobald, Phil Thompson

Additional Text
Julia Lupton, Colby Gordon

Humanities Art Show Curator
Larisa Castillo

Performative Objects

Kyna Leski (RISD),
John Crawford, Lisa Naugle (UCI)

Designers (RISD)
Yixuan Cai, Kevin Costello, Hanbin Hou, Daniel Icaza-Milson, Xiaoman Ji, Ka Hyun Kim, Matt Koegel, Ye Mo Koo, Leah Ying Lin, Natnaree Ruethaivanich, Daqi Shi, Samantha Zhixing Xia, Zi Ye, Abby Jiaxin Yu

Designers & Performers (UCI)
Lauren Etter, Allison Eversoll, Cody Han, Yiwei Ji, Brandi Kelley, Sukanya Kumar, Robert Laos, Qingyang Li, Ting-Wei Lin, Jacob Machmer, David McMahan, Ashton Montgomery, Akshita Nathani, Robyn O'Dell, Andrea Ordaz, Borey Shin, Marie Tsaasan, Katrina Vergara, Waeli Wang

With Support From


    John Crawford, Director


Image credit: Tim Marshall