Saline County Shakes getting ready to bring laughs

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published May 9, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated May 8, 2013 at 10:26 a.m.
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From the left, front, Zackary Glover, Bishop Butler and Matthew McCallister get pointers on their roles as island spirits for Saline County Shakes’ production of The Tempest from director Cory Cotham. The group will present the play May 30 to June 1 and June 6-8 at Tyndall Park Amphitheater in Benton.

Saline County Shakes, formerly Saline County Shakespeare in the Park, is working hard to prepare for its production of The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, at the end of the month.

The production will be at 7 p.m. May 30 to June 1 and June 6-8 at Tyndall Park Amphitheater, 914 E. Sevier St. in Benton.

Lisa Goodrich, producer and one of the founders of Saline County Shakes, said the play begins on a boat that has been disheveled by a storm created by Prospero, played by Daniel Lieblong.

“[Prospero] is basically the lead role in the play,” Lieblong said.

Prospero, the Duke of Milan, has been shipped off to an island, where his counterparts hope he will die, Lieblong said.

While on the island, Prospero and his servant spirit, Ariel, cause the boat — carrying Alonso, the King of Naples; Ferdinand; Sebastian; Antonio, the Duke of Milan; Gonzalo; Tinculo; and Stefano — to be tossed about in a storm, and the ship crashes onto the island, Lieblong said.

This is Lieblong’s first Shakespearean play, but not his first role in a production.

“I did a little theater stuff when I was in

college,” Lieblong said. “It’s been a long time, and it’s been fun.”

Nicole Wells plays Ariel, Prospero’s servant spirit.

“Without me, the sailors wouldn’t be on the island,” Wells said.

This isn’t Wells’ first play with Saline County Shakes, and she said the people involved in the program are the reason she keeps coming back.

“The people are why I’m in theater in the first place,” Wells said. “It’s fun to hang out, and it helps me just get away from the world for a little while.”

Wells and Lieblong said that before going to see The Tempest, potential audience members may want to refresh their memories of the play.

“It’s going to be different,” Lieblong said. “[The Tempest] is being set up as if it was in modern times.”

Goodrich said the group has been rehearsing about four times a week for the past month. Saline County Shakes currently does only one production a year, but Goodrich said she hopes to up the production count to two next year.

Lieblong said he’s excited to present The Tempest because it will be fun to watch.

“There are definitely parts that are going to be funny,” Lieblong said. “It’s funny and it’s serious, but at the end, it’s filled with forgiveness.”

Lieblong said there is not a lot of violence in the play, and everyone will likely find something of interest in the play.

The production is free, but donations will be accepted. For more information, contact Lisa Goodrich at, or visit the group’s Facebook page at

Staff writer Lisa Burnett is available at (501) 244-4307 or

Online News Editor Lisa Burnett can be reached at

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