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Pier One Theatre puts on production of “The Tempest”

Michael Selle rehearses a scene from William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" as Caliban.
Jamie Diep
Michael Selle rehearses a scene from William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" as Caliban.

Romance, betrayal and magic is in the air as Pier One Theatre prepares a production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

During a rehearsal Monday evening, the cast and crew worked together to run through the play, starting with the exciting opening scene of nobles caught in a storm at sea.

Michael Selle plays Caliban, a devilish character serving Prospero, the lead character. This is the first Shakespeare play he’s acted in, and he’s found learning lines to a centuries old play can be challenging.

You have to trust that eventually you're going to figure it out, as opposed to just all of a sudden, when it's not Shakespeare, you can sort of just, ‘oh, this is how it goes,’” he said.

The language of Shakespeare can be a struggle, even for those who have been in their share of Shakespeare productions like Peter Norton. Norton got an exciting start in theater through Shakespeare.

I had a small role and nearly got killed on stage and that was a good experience,” Norton said

Despite its difficulties, Norton takes a more exploratory approach to performing Shakespeare.

“A lot of folks kind of put Shakespeare on a pedestal. I like him to be more accessible, as if he's a kind of friend,” he said, “so you can mess with it a little bit, not make it sacred, but it's hard stuff. It's a different process from a modern English production.”

And much like Norton, Selle finds a lot of beauty in the play’s language.

“When it's working, it really feels important. And when you get it right, it sounds amazing,” he said.

The Tempest will run at the Mariner Theater in Homer High School beginning this Friday.

Many of KBBI’s own are in the production, including producer Kathleen Gustafson, who plays Prospero.

Jamie Diep is a reporter/host for KBBI from Portland, Oregon. They joined KBBI right after getting a degree in music and Anthropology from the University of Oregon. They’ve built a strong passion for public radio through their work with OPB in Portland and the Here I Stand Project in Taipei, Taiwan.Jamie covers everything related to Homer and the Kenai Peninsula, and they’re particularly interested in education and environmental reporting. You can reach them at to send story ideas.