Tempest Talks

Looking Behind the Curtain

A Digital Series

Hosted by CSC Associate Artistic Director Bryn Boice

In anticipation of the summer 2021 production of The Tempest on Boston Common, Tempest Talks give audience members the opportunity to get a unique look at the play itself and a peek behind the scenes with the creative team that is working to bring the play to life. The series focuses on the various elements that come together to put a great production on the stage: direction, design, performance.

Watch the recordings of each Tempest Talk on our YouTube channel by clicking HERE

Past Events in this Series:

“The Director’s Vision” with CSC Artistic Director Steven Maler, March 4 at 6:00 p.m.

He will give an overview of The Tempest and how he approaches play selection for CSC. This play was chosen several years ago to be the showcase for CSC’s 25th production, but had to be postponed from 2020 to 2021 because of the pandemic. How has his view of the play evolved in light of all the changes that have occurred in the past year?




“Comic Relief,” with John Kuntz and Fred Sullivan, Jr. April 1 at 6:00 p.m. 

Two of our audience’s favorite comedic actors. In honor of April Fool’s Day, they’ll be talking about the role of comedy in Shakespeare and the work they do to interpret the text for contemporary audiences. They will also give us insights into the process of collaboration among actors as they prepare for their roles.   


“The Elements of Design,” with designers Nancy Leary, Jeffrey Petersen, and Clint Ramos, May 6 at 6:00 p.m.

They are both members of the design team responsible for the stunning costumes and sets for this and previous CSC productions. In particular, we’ll explore how the entire design team comes together to bring all the elements of design — sets, costumes, sound, lighting — into one seamless vision.




“Access for All,” with CSC Accessibility Advocate Christopher Robinson, June 3 at 6:00 p.m.

Christopher Robinson and members of the team that works with ASL, audio describing, and other techniques to ensure that our productions really are accessible to everyone. We’ll explore how these talented performers prepare for their roles and learn how to interpret Shakespeare’s complex language.




“Prospero’s World,” with John Douglas Thompson, July 8 at 6:00 p.m.

We’ll look at how he approaches building the character of Prospero, how he works with the director, and how relationships are built with the entire cast. We’ll be able to get a peek behind the scenes of the ongoing rehearsal process, and insights into his process for bringing this extraordinarily complex character to life on stage.  



Creative Team

Bryn Boice

Bryn Boice is an award-winning director, educator, actor, and producer, as well as CSC’s Associate Artistic Director and Director of Education & Training. Also for CSC, Bryn helmed Universe Rushing Apart: Blue Kettle & Here We Go – two Caryl Churchill one-acts – which garnered her the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director, Large Theatre. Other recent Boston-area credits include: The Sound Inside and The Children (both Elliot Norton nominated for Outstanding Production, Speakeasy Stage); The Book of Will, Into the Breeches! (Elliot Norton nom. for Direction and Production, Hub Theatre Company); Tall Tales from Blackburn Tavern, Gloria (Gloucester Stage); The Half-Life of Marie Curie (The Nora Company); Admissions (The Gamm Theatre); Last Night at Bowl-Mor Lanes (Greater Boston Stage Company); an all-female production of Julius Caesar for Actors’ Shakespeare Project; and a number of Apprentice Repertory Company and Stage2 productions for CSC. New York, regional and other Boston credits as an actor and/or director include work with Asolo Repertory Company, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Anthem Theatre Company, Okoboji Theatre, InProximity Theatre, Theatre Row, Martha’s Vineyard PAC, Monomoy Theatre, Caroline’s on Broadway, and Manhattan Theatre Club. Before turning full-time to CSC, she taught at Salem State University, where her wide-ranging experience allowed her to teach Voice for Performance, Applied Stage Movement, Public Speaking, Directing, Acting III (Early Realism), Dramatic Theory & Criticism, and Dialects, among others. MFA in Directing, Boston University. MFA in Acting, Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training (FSU). Member AEA. For more information visit www.brynboice.com


Jenna Worden
Production Manager
Jenna Worden
Production Manager

Jenna Worden is a producer, director, and stage manager with a passion for storytelling, education, and access to the arts. Favorite CSC credits include Birdy, Universe Rushing Apart, and Our American Hamlet. Additional regional credits include New Rep Theatre, Gloucester Stage Company, Phoenix Theatre, and Childsplay AZ. She collaborates often with Brian O’Donovan and is the director and producer of A Christmas Celtic Sojourn. She earned both her BA in Theatre Studies and BSEd in History from Northern Arizona University and is constantly looking for new ways to teach and be in conversation with the past. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Steven Maler

Steven Maler is the Founding Artistic Director of Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC). At CSC he has been directing Free Shakespeare on the Boston Common productions since 1996, including Richard III, Love’s Labour’s Lost, King Lear, Twelfth Night, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Coriolanus, All’s Well That Ends Well, Othello, The Comedy Of Errors, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, Henry V, The Tempest, Julius Caesar, and Romeo & Juliet. Other CSC works include his critically acclaimed production of Naomi Wallace’s adaptation of William Wharton’s novel Birdy, Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden, the world premiere of Jake Broder’s Our American Hamlet, and the world premiere of Robert Brustein’s The Last Will.  In collaboration with Boston Landmarks Orchestra, he directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring the Overture and Incidental Music of Felix Mendelssohn, as well as concert stagings of The Boys from Syracuse and Kiss Me Kate at Boston’s iconic Hatch Shell.  For CSC he has also directed one-night-only readings of iconic plays featuring Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Paul Rudd, Anthony Mackie, Blair Brown, Tony Shalhoub, Brooke Adams, Leslie Uggams, David Morse, and Jeffrey Donovan among others.  He conceived and directed Shakespeare at Fenway, an evening of Shakespeare scenes performed at Boston’s iconic Fenway Park, featuring Mike O’Malley, Neal McDonough, Maryann Plunkett, Jay O. Sanders, Kerry O’Malley, Seth Gilliam, Zuzanna Szadkowski, Max Von Essen, Christian Coulson, Jason Butler Harner, and many others.

In collaboration with Google, he adapted and directed a first of its kind sixty minute virtual reality film of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, entitled Hamlet 360: Thy Father’s Spirit, starring Jack Cutmore-Scott, Jay O. Sanders, Brooke Adams, and Faran Tahir.  It is currently available for viewing on Boston public media producer GBH’s YouTube channel; for more information, visit www.wgbh.org/hamlet360.

Outside of CSC, he directed Maria, Regina D’Inghilterra for Odyssey Opera, Péter Eötvös’ operatic treatment of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America (U.S. Premiere) and Thomas Adès’ Powder Her Face for Opera Boston, The Turn of the Screw at New Repertory Theatre, Santaland Diaries and Chay Yew’s Porcelain at SpeakEasy Stage Company, Top Girls and Weldon Rising at Coyote Theatre, and The L.A. Plays by Han Ong at A.R.T. His New York City credits include the New York Musical Theatre Festival production of Without You, written by and starring Anthony Rapp. The production has been seen in Boston, Edinburgh, Toronto, London, and Seoul.

He received the prestigious Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence, as well as for Best Production for Twelfth Night and All’s Well That Ends Well; Outstanding Director, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Best Production, SubUrbia; Best Solo Performance, John Kuntz’s Starf***ers (which also won Best Solo Performance Award at New York International Fringe Festival). His feature film “The Autumn Heart,” starring Tyne Daly and Ally Sheedy was in the Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival.

John Kuntz

John Kuntz has appeared with CSC previously in Henry V, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, and Twelfth Night.  He is the author of over 15 full-length plays including Necessary Monsters, The Hotel Nepenthe, Starfuckers and The Salt Girl.  As an actor, he has appeared with The Huntington, ART, Speakeasy and many others. He is the recipient of five Elliot Norton Awards, two IRNE Awards, a New York International Fringe Festival Award and a 2015 MCC Fellowship Award in Dramatic Writing.  He is a lecturer in Theatre, Dance and Media at Harvard University, an Associate Professor at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee and is the Artistic Director of The Derrah Theatre Lab.

Fred Sullivan, Jr.

Fred Sullivan is celebrating 16 seasons with CSC. On the Common, Fred has played Bottom, Jaques (Norton Award winner), Ageon, Brabantio, Parolles, Menenius, First Gangster (Kiss Me Kate at the Hatch Shell) Malvolio (Norton Award nominee), Gloucester, Holoferness, Capulet, Buckingham, Stephano  and he directed 2019’s Cymbeline and adapted our one-man A Christmas Carol. Most recently, Fred appeared at the Lyric Stage Company as Ben Jonson in The Book of Will and as Tim in The Cake. He spent 35 seasons as a resident actor at Trinity Repertory Company in RI where he appeared in 130 plays and received Norton and IRNE awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in Blithe Spirit and His Girl Friday. His Trinity roles included Falstaff, Harold Hill, Captain Hook, Oscar Madison, James Tyrone, Jr, Daddy Warbucks, Creon, Peer Gynt,  Joe Pitt, Alfie Doolittle, Scrooge, Nick Bottom and 118 others. At Trinity, Fred directed Shooting Star, A Christmas Carol and Boeing Boeing. Fred is a  Resident Director for the Gamm Theatre (25 seasons) where he directed 35 productions including Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet (each twice) The Winter’s Tale, Macbeth, The Tempest , King Lear, and Awake at Sing (Norton Award for Outstanding Production). As an actor at Gamm, he played Donny in American Buffalo, Autolycus in The Winter’s Tale, Potter/Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life, Aslasken in A Lie Agreed Upon and Mark Rothko in Red. Fred has also performed at NJ Shakespeare Festival, Dallas Theatre Center, Berkeley Rep, and Actor’s Theatre of Louisville. He is featured in the films: Vault, Saving Christmas (w/ Ed Asner), Mister Birthday, Agent Toby Barks and Almost Mercy. He teaches acting at Gamm and RISD.


Nancy Leary
Costume Designer
Nancy Leary
Costume Designer

Nancy Leary is a Costume Designer who’s visionary work for Opera and Theater has graced stages across the United States. Experienced in producing both highly conceptual and more traditional models of Opera and Theater costuming, Nancy has successfully applied her expertise to a wide array of theatrical styles and artistic endeavors.  From 2000 to the present Nancy has worked on well-established productions, recently developed pieces, and the premier of new works for such places as; Opéra Royal Château de Versailles, Glimmerglass Festival, The Pittsburg Symphony, Virginia Opera, Utah Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Saratoga, Mannes Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Mobile Opera, Juilliard Opera, Opera Boston, as well as Commonwealth Shakespeare Co.mpany, Westin Playhouse, The Julie Harris Theatre, The Barrow Group Theatre, and New York Live Arts to name a few.

Jeffrey Petersen
Set Designer
Jeffrey Petersen
Set Designer

Jeffrey Petersen returns to CSC after designing last season’s Stage2 production of Romeo and Juliet and after assisting Clint Ramos on the recent productions of Birdy and Death and the MaidenRecent New England design credits include: Maria Regina dInghlterra (Odyssey Opera) Mary StuartEveryman (NEU) Barefoot in the Park, The Agitators (Gloucester Stage Co.); Becoming Dr. Ruth, Lonely Planet, Statements, Unveiled (New Repertory Theatre); Book Club Play, Elemeno Pea, Lost Tempo, Equal Writes,The Honey Trap (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre); As Associate Designer with Mr. Ramos: The Purists (The Huntington Theatre) MFA Boston University.  jeffreypetersendesign.com

Christopher Robinson
Accessibility Advocate
Christopher Robinson
Accessibility Advocate

Christopher Robinson (Prospero/Sebastian/Stephano standby) works at Boston University’s Office of Disability & Access Services and also serves on the Board of Directors of StageSource (stagesource.com) For over a decade he has coordinated Accessibility Services or appeared as an ASL Interpreter for CSC’s productions on the Common. He has worked as an ASL/English interpreter for several Huntington Theatre Company’s productions of August Wilson’s Century Cycle, among other dramatic productions. He worked as a Shadow Interpreter for the Craig Lucas’ play, I Was Most Alive With You, a Huntington Theatre production. Regional Theatre Interpreting venues: Wheelock Family Theatre; Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Seattle Rep; American Repertory Theatre; BCAP at Boston University.

John Douglas Thompson

John Douglas Thompson has been hailed by the New York Times “as one  of the most compelling classical stage actors of his generation” and in The  New Yorker, Thompson [is] “regarded by some people as the best classical  actor in America.”  

John most recently appeared on Broadway in King Lear and the revival of  Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel. He also starred in the Huntington  Theatre Company’s Man in the Ring (Elliot Norton Award) and in the  titular role of the American Conservatory Theater’s production of Hamlet.  He also co-starred in The Public Theater’s Shakespeare In The Park  production of Julius Caesar.  

He received rave reviews for his performance in August Wilson’s Jitney,  for which he received a Tony Award nomination. Thompson’s other credits  include The Father and A Doll’s House at Theater For A New Audience  and Troilus & Cressida at The Public. Other Broadway credits include A  Time To Kill, Cyrano de Bergerac, and Julius Caesar with Denzel  Washington.  

John’s Off-Broadway credits include: The Iceman Cometh (Obie and  Drama Desk Awards); Tamburlaine (Obie and Drama Desk Awards);  Satchmo At The Waldorf (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award, and  the NAACP Theatre Awards) at Westside Theater, ACT, Annenberg Center  For The Performing Arts, Long Wharf Theater; King Lear at The Public  Theater; Macbeth (title role); Othello (Obie Award, Lucille Lortel Award)  at Theatre for a New Audience; The Forest; The Emperor Jones at Irish  Repertory Theatre (Lucille Lortel, Drama League and Drama Desk  nominations); and Hedda Gabler at New York Theatre Workshop.  Regional credits include: Joe Turner’s Come And Gone at Mark Taper  Forum (Ovation Award); Antony And Cleopatra; Red Velvet, Othello,  Richard III, and Mother Courage at Shakespeare & Co.; Jesus Hopped the  ‘A’ Train (Barrymore Award); and productions at the Williamstown Theatre  Festival, Trinity Repertory Company, American Repertory Theater and Yale  Repertory Theatre among others. Television credits include: For Life, Mare Of Easttown, The Gilded Age,  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Film credits include: 21 Bridges, 355, Let Them All Talk, Wolves, The  Bourne Legacy, Glass Chin, Midway, and Malcolm X.

Events in this series are held on Zoom and speech-to-text captioning will be available.

As with all of our programming, we encourage you to let us know about any disability-related accommodations that you need in order to participate. Please reach out to us at audienceservices@commshakes.org with your requests, or to let us know how we’re doing in our efforts to make all of our work engaging and accessible to all audiences.

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