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“The Tempest” schedule

› Thursday, Aug. 15: Mars Theater, 117 N. Chattanooga St., LaFayette, Georgia, 7:30 p.m.

› Friday, Aug. 16: Chatsworth City Park, 400 N. Second Ave., Chatsworth, Georgia, 7:30 p.m.

› Saturday, Aug. 17: Miller Park, 928 Market St., Chattanooga, 7:30 p.m.

some text William Smith plays Prospero and Tessa Sentell is cast as his daughter, Miranda, in "The Tempest." / Photo from Back Alley Productions

Back Alley Productions is taking The Bard on the road for its annual summer traveling Shakespeare series.

"The Tempest" will be presented this weekend only, Aug. 15-17, in North Georgia and Chattanooga outdoor venues. All shows are free and open to the public.

"This is the sixth summer we're performing a Shakespearean classic free for the public," says Kaylee Smith, executive director.

"It's entirely different from our regular lineup. We've been wanting to return to 'The Tempest' for a while. We performed it a few years back in 2015. No matter who you are, you have heard of 'The Tempest.' I think the audience will find that, even if they're not Shakespeare buffs, the story is accessible, magical and an amazing story about redemption."

"The Tempest," which runs roughly two hours with intermission, details the conflicts and intrigue of several castaways on a mythical island where superstition rules supreme.

Prospero, an ousted duke of former political power, seeks revenge against the conspirators who overthrew him. Thought to have died in an orchestrated shipwreck, he is now an expert magician who rules over the island's many spirits.

When Prospero learns a royal convoy carrying several of the usurpers is near the island, he conjures a storm to sink it. But his vendetta is complicated by the mercy of his daughter, Miranda, who has fallen in love with one of the shipwrecked nobles.

"It's a fantastic story that remains popular after 400 years," Smith says. "We're keeping to the original Shakespearean language. Even if you don't fully understand some lines, it's like listening to poetry. Our actors also have a real knack for telling the story visually, not just verbally."

Though the show is free, Back Alley will accept donations before, after and during intermission at each venue. These donations help fund BAP's continuing effort to offer quality Shakespearean productions free to the public.

Audience members should bring water, snacks, chairs or a blanket for grass venues, bug spray and umbrellas.

The performances will include a talkback at the end, at which the cast will stay to answer questions, discuss the show, Shakespeare, acting and what it's like to learn Elizabethan dialogue, as well as pose for photos.

"Our annual Shakespeare Summer Series, has become so much of our identity," Smith adds. "We've seen such positive growth over the years; it's a very rewarding experience for the actors and audience alike. Making Shakespeare fully accessible to the public comes with a lot of challenges, but once you get onstage and show people the magic of Shakespeare and theater, you wouldn't have it any other way."

For more information: 706-621-2870 or https://www.bapshows.com/shakespeare-summer-series.html

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