Ghostlight Productions to present Ninth Annual Shakespeare in the Park: ‘The Tempest’ June 2-4, 9-11 in South Abington

By Elizabeth Baumeister - ebaumeister@timesleader.com
Sarah Wagner practices a scene from ‘The Tempest’ in a recent dress rehearsal for the upcoming Ghostlight Productions Shakespeare in the Park play, to be held June 2-4 and 9-11 at South Abington Park. - Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal
EJ Leeson practices a dance scene in Ghostlight Productions’ Ninth Annual Shakespeare in the Park: ‘The Tempest,’ slated for June 2-4 and 9-11 at South Abington Park. - Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal
Jessica McDonough rehearses her role as Ariel in Ghostlight Productions’s upcoming Ninth Annual Shakespeare in the Park: ‘The Tempest’ at South Abington Park. - Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal
The Ghostlight Productions cast rehearses a scene from ‘The Tempest,’ to be presented June 2-4 and 9-11 at South Abington Park. - - Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal
Cast members of Ghostlight Productions’ Ninth Annual Shakespeare in the Park: ‘The Tempest’ are, from left, first row, EJ Leeson, of Scranton and Crista Mallecoccio, of Dickson City. Second row, Dana Jackson, of Dunmore; Maxwell Earl, of Clarks Summit; Abby Mappes, of Clarks Summit and K.K. Gordon, of Scranton. Third row, Sarah Wagner, of Clarks Summit; Kassi Leonard, of Dalton, Mich.; Jessica McDonough, of Scranton; Jeremy Kemmerer, of Clarks Summit; Rachel Strayer, of Clarks Summit; Karin Mappes, of Clarks Summit; Kevin Burke, of Archbald and Laura Miceli, of Dunmore. - - Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal
A mask, part of a costume in Ghostlight Production’s upcoming play, hangs on a tree branch during a recent dress rehearsal at South Abington Park. - - Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

S. ABINGTON TWP. — The theatrical forecast for the area of South Abington Park on the weekends of June 2-4 and 9-11 includes a tempest with a 100-percent chance of magic. Travelers in that area should be on the lookout for shipwrecks, drunken servants and a vengeful magician.

On those dates and at that location Ghostlight Productions will present its Ninth Annual Shakespeare in the Park production, featuring “The Tempest.” Friday and Saturday performances will begin at 6:30 p.m. and Sundays’ performances are set for 2:30 p.m.

The play is directed by Jonathan Strayer, who co-founded the theater group in 2009 with his wife, Rachel Strayer.

The script centers around the character of Prospero, portrayed by Rachel Strayer.

“I think she’s a good person at heart, who was put into a horrible situation that endangered not only her life, but her daughter’s life,” said the actress, describing Prospero. “And now she has the opportunity for revenge against the people who hurt her and she plans to take that revenge. She also has a strong interest in magic and has built up certain abilities to control spirits of the elements that then serve her, and create storms, such as the tempest that opens the play.”

One of these spirits is Ariel – the element of air – played by Jessica McDonough, of Scranton.

“The reason that I (Ariel) am her (Prospero’s) servant is that when she arrived on the island, I was encased in a tree that an evil witch had locked me in, because I wouldn’t do her bidding. And so Prospero frees me, which then indebts me to her,” McDonough explained.

K.K. Gordon, of Scranton, plays the role of Calaban, the son of a witch who previously controlled the island.

“I (Calaban) am not supposed to be completely human…there’s sort of a primal magic gone wrong in me,” Gordon explained. “I’m your basic slave/servant longing to be free from my master’s powers.”

Gordon said “The Tempest” is one of his favorite Shakespeare plays.

“Before there was ‘Harry Potter,’ before there was ‘Lord of the Rings,’ there was magic in the world of entertainment, and this is a very magical play,” he said. “I’m supposed to be a monster, but I play it like I’m a magical experiment gone wrong, I think. And that’s an awful lot of fun.”

Rachel Strayer described the play as one of Shakespeare’s “most unique” works, believed by historians to be the last play he wrote.

“I love how creative this piece is, both from the perspective of the script that Shakespeare created, but also what Jonathan is doing with it as a director,” she said.

Admission to the play is free and donations are not required, but accepted. It is supported by a Lackawanna County Community Arts and Culture Grant and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Attendees should bring chairs or blankets.

For more information, visit GhostlightNEPA.com or email GhostlightNEPA@gmail.com.

Sarah Wagner practices a scene from ‘The Tempest’ in a recent dress rehearsal for the upcoming Ghostlight Productions Shakespeare in the Park play, to be held June 2-4 and 9-11 at South Abington Park.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_ABJ-Ghostlight-1.jpgSarah Wagner practices a scene from ‘The Tempest’ in a recent dress rehearsal for the upcoming Ghostlight Productions Shakespeare in the Park play, to be held June 2-4 and 9-11 at South Abington Park. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

EJ Leeson practices a dance scene in Ghostlight Productions’ Ninth Annual Shakespeare in the Park: ‘The Tempest,’ slated for June 2-4 and 9-11 at South Abington Park.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_ABJ-Ghostlight-2.jpgEJ Leeson practices a dance scene in Ghostlight Productions’ Ninth Annual Shakespeare in the Park: ‘The Tempest,’ slated for June 2-4 and 9-11 at South Abington Park. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

Jessica McDonough rehearses her role as Ariel in Ghostlight Productions’s upcoming Ninth Annual Shakespeare in the Park: ‘The Tempest’ at South Abington Park.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_ABJ-Ghostlight-3.jpgJessica McDonough rehearses her role as Ariel in Ghostlight Productions’s upcoming Ninth Annual Shakespeare in the Park: ‘The Tempest’ at South Abington Park. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

The Ghostlight Productions cast rehearses a scene from ‘The Tempest,’ to be presented June 2-4 and 9-11 at South Abington Park.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_ABJ-Ghostlight-4.jpgThe Ghostlight Productions cast rehearses a scene from ‘The Tempest,’ to be presented June 2-4 and 9-11 at South Abington Park. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

Cast members of Ghostlight Productions’ Ninth Annual Shakespeare in the Park: ‘The Tempest’ are, from left, first row, EJ Leeson, of Scranton and Crista Mallecoccio, of Dickson City. Second row, Dana Jackson, of Dunmore; Maxwell Earl, of Clarks Summit; Abby Mappes, of Clarks Summit and K.K. Gordon, of Scranton. Third row, Sarah Wagner, of Clarks Summit; Kassi Leonard, of Dalton, Mich.; Jessica McDonough, of Scranton; Jeremy Kemmerer, of Clarks Summit; Rachel Strayer, of Clarks Summit; Karin Mappes, of Clarks Summit; Kevin Burke, of Archbald and Laura Miceli, of Dunmore.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_ABJ-Ghostlight-5.jpgCast members of Ghostlight Productions’ Ninth Annual Shakespeare in the Park: ‘The Tempest’ are, from left, first row, EJ Leeson, of Scranton and Crista Mallecoccio, of Dickson City. Second row, Dana Jackson, of Dunmore; Maxwell Earl, of Clarks Summit; Abby Mappes, of Clarks Summit and K.K. Gordon, of Scranton. Third row, Sarah Wagner, of Clarks Summit; Kassi Leonard, of Dalton, Mich.; Jessica McDonough, of Scranton; Jeremy Kemmerer, of Clarks Summit; Rachel Strayer, of Clarks Summit; Karin Mappes, of Clarks Summit; Kevin Burke, of Archbald and Laura Miceli, of Dunmore. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

A mask, part of a costume in Ghostlight Production’s upcoming play, hangs on a tree branch during a recent dress rehearsal at South Abington Park.
https://www.theabingtonjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_ABJ-Ghostlight-6.jpgA mask, part of a costume in Ghostlight Production’s upcoming play, hangs on a tree branch during a recent dress rehearsal at South Abington Park. Elizabeth Baumeister photos | Abington Journal

By Elizabeth Baumeister

ebaumeister@timesleader.com

IF YOU GO

What: Ghostlight Productions presents Ninth Annual Shakespeare in the Park: “The Tempest”

When: 6:30 p.m Fridays and Saturdays, June 2, 3, 9 and 10 and 2:30 p.m. Sundays, June 4 and 11.

Where: South Abington Park

Cost: free; donations accepted

More info: visit GhostlightNEPA.com or email production director Jonathan Strayer at GhostlightNEPA@gmail.com.

Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal.

Reach Elizabeth Baumeister at 570-704-3943 or on Twitter @AbingtonJournal.