The Tempest at East-West Players, Los Angeles

No time right now for a full review — I have to reread the text first — and I’m not a drama critic. But if you’re in LA you must see the production of The Tempest by the East-West Players. Last three performances Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon. I saw it tonight, and I’m still reeling.

If, like me, you’re a Shakespearean purist, you’re going to find this hard to believe. The text is “adapted” (mostly just cut) by director Andrew Tsao, so the whole thing runs just 90 minutes, without an intermission. No “You do assist the storm,” no “Born to be hanged.” Ferdinand and Caliban are doubled. Ariel and Miranda are doubled. The Ariel/Prospero relationship is highly sexualized. Gonzalo is played by a woman. Just the sort of screwing around with the Bard we hate, right?

Wrong. It works. It works spectacularly. Partly because the directing is terrific, partly because the cast — especially Matthew Yang King and Gwendoline Yeo in the doubled roles — is superb, partly because Tsao is actually on to something in the doublings, Ferdinand/Caliban in particular. The net result is the most powerful and moving Tempest I’ve seen in thirty years.

Run, don’t walk.

East West Players

120 Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles

(213) 625-7000

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: