A Detroit non-profit is reimagining Shakespeare’s The Tempest with a techno twist.
Shakespeare in Detroit – a group dedicated to supporting the city’s cultural, educational, and financial growth through professional theater – will bring The Tempest: A Tribute to Detroit Techno to the city’s Campus Martius Park from August 11-13 and August 18-20.
The play casts Shakespeare’s famous protagonist magician Prospero as a former DJ loosely based on techno pioneer Juan Atkins.
This reimagined version of Prospero was also the director of a dance show, inspired by The New Dance Show – a local Detroit television program from the late 1990s which spotlighted music from a number of influential techno artists in the city.
In Shakespeare’s original Tempest, Prospero is next in line to be the Duke of Milan, but has been deceived by his brother who orchestrates a planned shipwreck – leaving Prospero and his daughter stranded on a deserted island.
Prospero learns magic from books – and when his brother comes sailing by 12 years later – he uses three magical spirits to return the favor.
This time around, Prospero’s magical powers are derived from records, turntables, and synthesizers; and the meddling spirits are well-known dancers from The New Dance Show: Lawanda, Kiki, and Yvonne – who were all mainstay performers when the show reached its peak.
With a dance party at intermission and even a live DJ, The Tempest: A Tribute to Detroit Techno will celebrate the Motor City’s storied dance music history free of charge to patrons, thanks to a donation from the Gilbert Family Foundation.
Read more about Shakespeare in Detroit and their updated production of The Tempest here.
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