Fanny Kemble was an early feminist, abolitionist, writer, and one of the most celebrated actresses to grace the 19th century American stage. She argued politics with U.S. presidents. She inspired Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass and Henry James’ Washington Square. She was the first entertainment superstar of all time about whom newspapers gossiped, and women imitated.
After her divorce in 1848, she gave dramatic readings of Shakespeare’s plays in which she performed all the roles. Set during one of those readings, Mrs. Kemble’s Tempest, written by resident playwright Tom Ziegler, juxtaposes the tumultuous ups and downs in the life of this astounding woman with the rapid reversals of fortune in Shakespeare’s island fantasy, The Tempest.
Jane Ridley, award-winning British/American actress, stars in this tour de force, performing the role she originated to 5-star reviews at the famed Edinburgh Fringe Festival, at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, and most recently at the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A sample review: “Tom Ziegler has written a witty and wonderfully intelligent show and Ridley is effortlessly able to keep our attention focused on her larger-than-life heroine.” Ms. Ridley is accompanied by actor/pianist Josh Harvey; the production is directed by Jere Hodgin.
There will be just one performance of Mrs. Kemble’s Tempest, on Saturday, April 9, at 8 p.m. at Caribbean Community Theatre, located at #18 Orange Grove in Christiansted, St. Croix. Ticket prices are $25 for adults, $23 for seniors, $20 for college students (with a valid student ID), $15 for children under age 18; discounts are available for CCT members. Box office and bar open at 7:15 PM; seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis, so please arrive early.