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The Tempest in Dundee

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The Tempest at Dundee Rep Theatre (6 - 23 June 2012)

Dundee's Rep Theatre has become renowned for its productions and as its award winning Dundee Rep Ensemble prepares for a new, exciting production of Shakespearean comedy The Tempest, we caught up with director Jemima Levick to talk great playwrights, ensemble casts and Dundee as a significant centre for the arts.

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Don't miss half price tickets to The Tempest for guests staying at Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa in Dundee.*

The Tempest is thought to be Shakespeare's final play. On the surface it's the story of the exiled and shipwrecked Prospero seeking vengeance on his brother for stealing his rightful place as Duke of Milan. Learning that his brother is on a vessel in nearby seas, Prospero raises a magical tempest to wash the ship ashore and exact his revenge. There's more to the story, though, as the fates of the island dwellers and the ship's various passengers become entwined in a tale of love, friendship, redemption, magic and theatre itself.

Tempest director Jemima Levick talks to us about her latest production.

We're pretty excited about the Rep's production of The Tempest. It's just over 4 weeks away – what stage are preparations at and how are they going?
Very well, it's an exciting piece of work! We're only in the second week of rehearsals so we're only really just getting it 'on it's feet' as we've been discussing it round the table up until now. It's important to ensure that everyone has a literal and functional level of understanding about the text and clear about what exactly they're saying. The designs are all in place now, it just needs to be built!

What can audiences expect from the Dundee Rep Theatre's production of The Tempest?
I'm hoping it'll feel like a fresh look at the text, of the story, the characters and the world in which it's set - a play for today, not just for 1611! I've taken a new look at it in terms of the island dwellers and their relationship to the environment in which they live and the people that arrive on the island. But I won't tell you what that is... you'll have to come and see it!

This is your first time directing Shakespeare. You're no stranger to theatre's great playwrights, having tackled plays by Ibsen, Tolstoy, Chekhov and Tennessee Williams already, but is there something special about taking on Shakespeare?
It's an obvious answer, but the language makes all the difference. Also his reputation! Everyone knows his plays so well. Even the less known ones have been studied and pulled apart by scholars and audiences for many many years. If I had a pound for each person that's told me that this is their 'favourite Shakespeare'...!

Do you have a favourite adaptation of the play, on stage or screen?
I love the Derek Jarman version. It's extraordinary but would never work on stage.

What's it like directing an ensemble company, like the Rep Ensemble, compared to working with actors brought together for a single production?
Essentially with the ensemble you have a shorthand between yourself and the actors and that the company has with one another. They trust each other as performers and so there's far fewer days spent 'getting to know you' than there tends to be when people are brought together. Also, the sheer number of shows that they have under their belt means that they are hugely experienced and so they have technique in spades.

Dundee has a vibrant arts and cultural environment, with the likes of the Rep Theatre, Scottish Dance Theatre, DCA, graphic arts organization NEoN and soon the new V&A. What does it mean to you to live in a city with a buoyant cultural scene? Are there any others you'd like to highlight?
Dundee has many high profile and also hidden arts organisations and venues. It's what makes Dundee such a fantastic place to visit. There is always something going on and never very far to reach. I would recommend that you come and explore Dundee for yourself, you won't be disappointed.

The Tempest runs from 6 - 23 June 2012 at Dundee Rep Theatre, Tay Square, Dundee, DD1 1PB.

* To book half price tickets for The Tempest, you'll need to have a booking confirmation for Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa for a night during the show's run. Call Dundee Rep box office on 01382 223530 and tell them you're a guest at Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa. When collecting your tickets from the box office, you'll be asked to show your hotel room keycard so please bring it with you.


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