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Steampunk Shakespeare: Murray Theatre Dept. Stages "The Tempest"

Matt Markgraf, WKMS

Murray State's Theatre Department conjures Shakespeare's The Tempest Thursday through Sunday in the Robert E. Johnson Theatre of Doyle Fine Arts. Director Daryl Phillipy talks with Kate Lochte on Sounds Good about the "fantastic spectacle" of a show, complete with magical elements and a steampunk aesthetic.

Prospero, Miranda, Caliban and Ariel are classic characters from the play and they weave a plot of intrigue on the distant island once ruled by the witch Sycorax. Prospero, the magician was betrayed by his evil brother and the King of Naples and banished from his dukedome in Milan, along with his young daughter. They were sent on a boat and expected to die, but end up on a magical island where he becomes the lord and duke.

Phillipy says the steampunk style (goggles, gears and 'Victorian foppishness') works well in The Tempest. He says, "It's the idea of "if the future that we know now was available to the Victorians, what would the aesthetic of computer look like?" The play also includes levitation and inspiration from classic magician posters, wind machine, sound effects produced on stage and unique lighting effects produced by footlights.

Ticket information

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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