Staged Reading
Aimé Césaire’s
A Tempest

In Person & Livestreamed: Monday, February 28, 2022
FIAF Florence Gould Hall

Video On Demand: February 28–March 6, 2022

In English

Celebrated poet and activist Aimé Césaire strikingly adapts Shakespeare’s Jacobean play through a postcolonial lens. The characters and plot are largely unchanged. Prospero conjures a violent storm to drive his enemy’s ship ashore on the island on which he is exiled with his daughter. Césaire sets the story specifically on an island in the Caribbean and depicts Caliban and Ariel as black slaves to Prospero. Their opposing voices echo Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

Written in the tumultuous 1960s, A Tempest uses intelligence, wit, and beauty to confront complex intersections of race, power, and anti-imperialism.

This staged reading is directed by Lanise Antoine Shelley, the Artistic Director of Chicago’s House Theatre and the 2021 Drama League Classical Directing Fellow.

FIAF is excited to host this performance in celebration of Black History Month.

Une Tempête, a play by Aimé Césaire
Based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest
Translated from the French by Philip Crispin

Performance: 2 hours


Isabel Ellison, Carson Elrod, Kimberly Exum, Manoel Felciano, Enid Graham, Isaiah Johnson, Anthony Michael Martinez, Paul Niebanck, Jay O. Sanders, Anthony Venturini, and C.J. Wilson

Aimé Césaire

Aimé Césaire combined a political career as a Martinican statesman with a poetic calling in which he has been hailed as the leading Francophone poet of the 20th Century. Anti-colonialist visionary and prophet of negritude, his influence has been considerable in shaping on-going post-colonial debate.

Lanise Antoine Shelley

Lanise Antoine Shelley (she/her) is the Artistic Director of The House Theatre of Chicago. She is a Haitian actress, director, playwright and podcast host.

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    • Selected directing credits include: Just Cause (Defamation Experience), Pretended (written & directed for Paramount Theatre’s Inception Project), Blue Manakin (Rising Sun Performance Company), Rastas & Hattie, Black & Blue, Muthaland (16th St Theatre), Identity Lab (Lookingglass Theatre), The Tenant (Akvavit Theatre), RefuSHE Project (Voices & Faces Project), Rumors (DePaul University). She holds a BFA in directing, acting, and playwriting from Cornish College of the Arts, an MFA from ART/MXAT at Harvard University, certificate in Classical Theatre from BADA in Oxford, England, and Birmingham Conservatory. She was Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s Chicago Fellow 2016 and Victory Gardens Theatre’s Directing Fellow 2019. Presently Lanise is the host of the podcast “When They Were Young: Amplifying Voices of Adoptees” available on all listening platforms. She is the 2021 Drama League Classical Directing Fellow.

Red Bull Theater

Since its founding in 2003 with a production of Shakespeare’s Pericles, Red Bull Theater (Jesse Berger, Artistic Director; Jim Bredeson, Managing Director) has served adventurous theatergoers with Off-Broadway productions, Revelation Readings, and the annual Short New Play Festival.

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    • The company also offers outreach programs including Shakespeare in Schools bringing professional actors and teaching artists into public school classrooms; Bull Sessions, free post-performance discussions with top scholars; and Classical Acting Intensives led by veteran theater professionals. Red Bull Theater regularly produces a variety of classical work, including 21 Off-Broadway productions including The Alchemist, Mac Beth, Coriolanus, The School for Scandal, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, American Moor, The Government Inspector, plus over 200 OBIE Award-winning Revelation Readings. Additionally, Red Bull responded swiftly to the shutdown, creating several ongoing programs to serve audiences and artists, including RemarkaBULL Podversations, reaching a combined online audience of over 200,000. “The classics-shaking Red Bull Theater,” as Time Out NY has called the company, has served a community of more than 5,000 artists and provided quality artistic programming to an ever-growing audience. The company’s unique programming has received ongoing critical acclaim and has been recognized with Lortel, Drama Desk, Drama League, Callaway, Off-Broadway Alliance, and OBIE nominations and Awards.

The Drama League

The Drama League advances American theater by providing life-long artistic resources for directors and a platform for dialogue with audiences. Founded in 1916, as one of the longest-running arts service organizations in the country, we continuously adapt to meet artists’ needs in the expanding entertainment landscape.

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    • We enable directors to make the most powerful, impactful work possible, expand their skill across multiple mediums to reach broader audiences, and build thriving, sustainable careers. Uplifting directors of all economic classes, races, abilities, genders, and identities is a cornerstone of this mission. We provide support to directors throughout their artistic lives, and our work in education offers continued learning to professionals and introduces the skills of directing to young people. Underpinning our work is the support of our members, a community of ardent theater fans and industry professionals whose commitment to advancing the art form helps develop the careers of the talented directors we champion.