UW Today

November 16, 2011

'The Tempest' comes to New York in 'Rough Magic'

The UW School of Drama presents Rough Magic, by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Nov. 30-Dec. 11 in the Jones Playhouse. Directed by Book-It Theatres Myra Platt, Rough Magic reminds us of action movies, sci-fi thrillers, and comic book heroes all at once—with a  healthy dash of Shakespeare.

The bard comes along in the form of characters from The Tempest, like Caliban, who comes to New York in search of a raven-haired dramaturg and her 17-year-old lifeguard sidekick. These three and Tisiphone (a Fury from ancient Greece) go up against Prospero and his evil offspring in a fight to save magic and Manhattan.

“I felt it had a Lord of the Rings intensity, combined with a Three Stooges comedy in a Scooby Doo mystery,” said director Myra Platt about reading Rough Magic for the first time. The fact that the lead character is a dramaturg (a kind of literary adviser on a production) was particularly unusual.

“Most people dont even know what a dramaturg is,” said Platt. “But for those of us in theater, its a pretty funny premise.”

Inspired by the plays funny and fantastical spirit, Platt wanted the students imaginations to fly. “It will be up to the cast to make sense of the classical and contemporary theatrical themes that crack in a crazy, thunderclap bravado in the script.”

Playwright Aguirre-Sacasa was inspired by his love of comic books to study playwriting at Georgetown University under Donn B. Murphy. He attended Yale School of Drama and during his first year produced two plays, Say You Love Satan, which received the 2003 Excellence in Playwriting Award from the NYC Fringe Festival, and The Muckle Man which earned two Helen Hayes Award nominations, including The Charles MacArthur Award for Best New Play.

He graduated in 2003 and began writing comic books for Marvel Comics, Inc. including, Marvel Knights 4, Nightcrawler, The Sensational Spider-Man, and many more. Aguirre-Sacasa made the transition into television, writing and co-producing the HBO series Big Love. He now produces the hit series Glee on Fox.

Director Platt is one of the founders and co-artistic director (with Jane Jones) of Book-It Repertory Theater. Book-It has been following its mission of transforming great literature into great theatre and inspiring audiences to read for nearly 25 years. As director, adapter, actor, and composer, Platt has helped Book-It produce over 65 world-premiere stage adaptations. Myra will be performing in February 2012 in the theaters upcoming production of Prairie Nocturne by Ivan Doig. She is currently adapting The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Seattle author Garth Stein which will premiere at Book-It in April 2012.

Tickets for Rough Magic are $15 for matinees and weeknights and $18 on Fridays and Saturdays. Previews are $10. They are available at the Arts Ticket Office, 206-543-4880, or online.