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Playing the Strange

By Nathan Pearce, Company Member and Master of Dispatch

Forrest Gump would probably describe Sweet Tea Shakespeare the same way he described life: “You never know what you gonna get!”

I have been fortunate enough to be a part of several Sweet Tea Shakespeare productions in which I’ve become a variety of different characters, ranging from a hopelessly romantic Spaniard in Love’s Labours Lost to a king with an extreme jealousy problem in A Winter’s Tale. Despite this varied experience, nothing could prepare me for the role I will be playing in The Tempest (the role of Iris, goddess of the rainbow).

Not only do I have the song “Dude Looks Like a Lady” in my head non-stop, but I have had to totally forget what it “means to be a man” for this role. From posture to walking around, everything has needed to change.

This version of The Tempest completely flips the gender script, so to speak. Our amazing actresses are playing all the traditional male role and all of the female roles (except for the role of Miranda, being played beautifully by the amazing Nicole Callaghan) are being played by guys who are the farthest from feminine and we have the facial hair to prove it.

Sweet Tea Shakespeare is all about being wondrous and strange. By throwing “tradition” to the wind in this version of The Tempest, it is definitely achieving that goal, in the best way possible.