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Now in its 31st year, the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival is back with 'The Tempest'

 A woman, right, gestures with both hands while talking at a microphone inside a radio studio while a man seated to her right listens.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Amara Webb, right, talks about her role as Miranda in Shakespeare's "The Tempest" while Bruce Roach, who plays Prospero, listens during Up To Date on June 7, 2023.

Performances of William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" begin at Southmoreland Park on June 13. This story features exotic creatures, conjuring, comedy, a love story, live music and beautiful language.

Redemption and the power of love are central themes in William Shakespeare's "The Tempest," which is why Sidonie Garrett wanted the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival to produce it.

"I think we all need to think about the other person's perspective and think about how we can give them some grace because we don't agree vocally," said Garret, the festival's executive artistic director and the director of this summer's performance.

"I think sometimes we forget that forgiveness is important and that you need to give people a little bit of space to do better and be better," she added.

Bruce Roach, who plays Prospero, said his character is thrown into a situation where he has to make decisions about everything because no one else is there to make them for him. Making the right decision is something everyone struggles with, he said, so the role made him challenge himself to be a doer instead of a reactor.

"You have to be the person who is always in action," Roach said. "I think that's something that makes him (Prospero) uncomfortable and it's something that certainly makes me uncomfortable, so it's hard."

Amara Webb, who plays Miranda, describes her character as innocent, someone who leads with her heart. But Miranda's character starts to evolve and grow, which Webb said makes it a fun role to play.

  • Sidonie Garrett, executive artistic director of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and director of The Tempest
  • Bruce Roach, actor, Prospero in The Tempest
  • Amara Webb, actor, Miranda in the Tempest

"The Tempest," presented by the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, June 13-July 2 at Southerland Park, 4600 Oak Street, Kansas City, Missouri, 64111. Admission is free; gates open at 6 p.m.

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