wave the wand


All theater is magic. Even the most naturalistic of productions seek to deceive us into supposing that the stage we see is really someplace else: a cluttered living room, a sterile doctor’s office, a grimy inner-city diner. But few things can be so spellbinding as a play whose director shrugs off literalism and chooses instead to wave the wand of imagination. That’s what happens in the production of “The Tempest” currently being presented by Boston’s Actors’ Shakespeare Project, in which Patrick Swanson takes Shakespeare’s tale of a ship run ashore on an enchanted isle and turns it into a 19th-century magic show. I’ve reviewed many memorable Shakespeare productions in this space, but Mr. Swanson’s “Tempest,” like the “King Lear” that he mounted for Actors’ Shakespeare two seasons ago, ranks very near the top of my list.

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