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Oak Park Festival Theatre Returns In Person To Outdoor Stage For Production Of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest'

OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) -- After sticking to virtual performances at the height of the pandemic, the Oak Park Festival Theatre returned to the stage in person on Saturday evening.

Back in Austin Gardens, at 167 Forest Ave. in Oak Park, the theatre company began its run of William Shakespeare's "The Tempest."

OPFT artistic director Barbara Zahora is directing the production, which runs through Aug. 21 with stagings 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and 7 p.m. Sundays.

The theatre company notes that "The Tempest" features, hurricanes and monsters, and themes of magic, mayhem, love, and revenge. It also explores "nuanced concepts of colonialism, power struggles, and redemption," the company noted.

"Even though we chose this play long before coronavirus and the murder of George Floyd changed our world so significantly, its themes of exile, injustice, the struggle for power, self-discovery and healing are all particularly resonant after the last year," Zahora said in a news release. "As people start to come out of their homes and find a new normal post-pandemic, we hope this will be particularly meaningful for those seeing it for the first time."

'The Tempest' At Oak Park Festival Theatre
L-R: Deanalis Russo as Miranda, Jeannie-Affelder as Antonia, Kevin Theis as Prospero. (Photo by Bryan Wakefield)

The cast for this production of "The Tempest" includes Jeannie Affelder as Antonia; Belinda Bremner as Gonzalo; Dakotah Brown as the master of the ship, Francisco, and a Spirit; Tony Buzzuto as Sebastian; Matt Gall as Caliban; Noelle Klyce as Alonsa; Bernell Lassai as Ariel; Orion Seth Lay-Sleeper as Stephano; Savanna Rae as Trinculo; Deanalis Resto as Miranda; Kevin Theis as Prospero; Emily Sipora Tyler as the Boatswain, Adrian, and a Spirit; and Austyn Williamson as Ferdinand.

'The Tempest' At Oak Park Festival Theatre
L-R: Kevin Theis as Prospero, Deanalis Russo as Miranda. (Photo by Bryan Wakefield)

The theatre company says unvaccinated visitors are asked to mask up. They may remove their masks when seated with their pod, but should have them on when entering, leaving, or going to the restroom. All patrons are asked to keep their seating pods at least six feet from neighbors.

Food and drink are allowed, and patrons may bring their own lawn chairs or blankets, or rent lawn chairs for $5.

Tickers are available at the Oak Park Festival Theatre website.

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