45th Annual Shakespeare in The Park: ‘The Tempest’ Opens This Week

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A swashbuckling comedy about freedom, redemption and recovery will grace stages in Hilo and Honoka‘a this month during the 45th annual Shakespeare in the Park.

Hilo Community Players present “The Tempest,” which opens Friday, July 8. The show will run on three weekends in Hilo — July 8-10, 14-15, 17 and 21-23 — in the parking lot of the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m.

After the Hilo run, “The Tempest” moves to the Honoka’a Sports Complex, with shows at 7:30 p.m. July 29-31.


Admission is free. Donations are appreciated, and concessions will be available, including water, soda, popcorn, candy and more.

The Hilo Community Players early 20th century take on the Bard’s final play is set on the island prison of the brilliant, arrogant scientist Prospero, who — with his daughter and assistant Miranda — harnesses the power of the wind and waves, personified by the dangerous spirit Ariel, in a quest for vengeance on his brother, the scheming politician Antonio. Meanwhile, the downtrodden Caliban, longing for freedom from Prospero’s control, enlists help overthrowing him from an unreliable pair of drunken playboys.

“The Tempest” will be presented in a live drive-in format; actors will perform on a raised stage before an audience watching from the distanced safety of their vehicles — even tuning into the show’s sound via a short-range radio transmission. There will also be room in front of the stage for folding chairs and picnic blankets, and the show’s audio will be pumped through loudspeakers.


But there’s more to hear than that.

The isle where the action takes place has the strangest noises coming from unearthly instruments of its spirit inhabitants, whose preferred method of affecting a character, executing a plot twist or simply terrifying a hapless human is to sing a song. An original score by Rachel Edwards of Hilo sets Shakespeare’s lyrics to eerie, bittersweet melodies.

Audience members are asked to empty roof racks before coming to the drive-in event in Hilo. Large vehicles such as trucks, vans and SUVs will be parked to the side or behind the first three rows to ensure the best view for everyone.


Those wanting to bring chairs or blankets can sit outside their vehicles in front of the stage area and park their vehicles along the sides or in the back. The parking lot will open one hour before showtime.

In Honoka‘a, blankets, sitting pillows and/or folding chairs are encouraged, since the location is not a drive-in.

For more information, click here or email [email protected].

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