NEW PALTZ – The State University of New York at New Paltz Department of Theatre Arts will present William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” directed by Associate Professor Nancy Saklad and featuring Associate Professor Connie Rotunda as Prospero (Prospera). The performances will take place from Nov.14-24 in McKenna Theatre on the New Paltz campus.
Richly appointed with sorcery, romance, and intrigue, director Nancy Saklad’s version of “The Tempest” combines elements of Elizabethan, Victorian, and SteamPunk styles with a contemporary twist. Several characters switch genders from male to female roles resulting in their gender attributes taking on new meanings and allowing the audience to look at the nature of gender as it relates to positions of power.
“My concept focuses on the theme of retribution and forgiveness and ultimately what it means to love,” said Saklad. “When the play begins, we enter a world that is caught between worlds: between shipwreck and safety, forgiveness and retribution, human and spirit, island and mainland, animal nature and human nature. Using the Shakespearian text, the production promises to be richly textured as several elements of the plot come together as one with an array of beautifully drawn characters.”
When she’s not teaching, Saklad directs and coaches voice and acting. Directing credits include “Much Ado About Nothing,” at Boston’s Publik Theatre; “How I Learned To Drive,” at Durham Center Stage; and “Other People’s Money,” at Seacoast Repertory Theatre. She also directed the Professional Division Moss Hart Award winning production of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” at Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth, N.H., and numerous other plays.
Saklad has taught acting, voice, and directing at the University of Miami, F.L., the University of New Hampshire, Regis College in M.A., Queens College in N.Y., and The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. She is also affiliated with the acclaimed Pearl Theatre, in New York City, as a Fitzmaurice Voicework coach and consultant, and with Half Moon Theatre in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Saklad is the author of “Voice and Speech Training in the New Millennium: Conversations with Master Teachers” and created a new acting technique called “Acting with the Felt Sense.”
Rotunda is a Guild-Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner and has worked as the training program practitioner in the New York City Feldenkrais Method Professional Training Programs. She holds an MFA in acting from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. A professional actor and coach, Rotunda has worked regionally and off-Broadway, created and performed sketch comedy with Alarm Dog Rep, as well as performed and taught as a guest artist. She is a rogue artist with the Anthropologists, and currently works as an actor and movement coach with Wallis Knot, an experimental theatre company based in New York City.
Performances of “The Tempest” will be held on Nov. 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, and 23 at 8 p.m., and Nov.17 & 24 at 2 p.m. Reserved ticket prices for showings are $18 for general admission, $16 for seniors, SUNY faculty/staff, and non-New Paltz students, and $10 for SUNY New Paltz students. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.newpaltz.edu/theatre or by calling (845) 257-3880.