The action centers on a fictional portrayal of Fanny Kemble’s farewell performance to her beloved audience. She has chosen a reading of Shakespeare’s The Tempest as her swan song. As she reads, she slips in and out of the characters on Shakespeare’s magical island and relives her own life as an actress, a mother, an abolitionist, almost a slave, and finally as a triumphant author.
Fanny Kemble was an actress in the mid-19th century from a theatrical family in Britain. She married an American and 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, women imitated her and men wore her likeness on neckties. After her divorce in 1848, she gave dramatic readings of Shakespeare’s plays in which she performed all the roles.
"The battle between them is one of the highlights of a frequently laugh-out-loud show that nevertheless rakes the heart" –Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Hairline. Five Stars
“Tempest...[is] remarkably successful at resurrecting a distant figure and weaving the events of her life into a coherent, quite compelling, scenario. –Baltimore Sun
“Tom Ziegler has written a witty and wonderfully intelligent show.” –Lancaster Online
"Oh, the places we have been! Tom Ziegler, brilliant writer, good friend and wonderful man of the theatre - we have taken this gem of a one person - plus pianist - play to theaters in Virginia; Pennsylvania; Edinburgh, Scotland; St. Croix; New York City; and I don't feel like we are done yet. Have large hooped dress and the big book will travel! This play has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever had in my career.” –Jane Ridley
Full-Length Play, Drama