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Booker High School VPA Theatre to Open Season with Rough Magic

by Rebecca Abrahamson, Booker High School

SARASOTA COUNTY, September 30, 2019 – The Booker High School VPA theatre department will present Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s “Rough Magic” as the VPA season opener. The play— which imagines the characters of “The Tempest” in modern-day Manhattan— combines magic, geeky comic book references, and is a fast-paced, adventurous meditation on power, both its lure and its dangers.

Director Sunny Smith, who brings her signature innovations to this work, said that “Rough Magic” seemed to be a natural choice for the department, which took on comic-bookish “She Kills Monsters” last spring.

“The kids seem to really be attracted to stories with nerdy superheroes, pop culture references and the melding of the real and supernatural worlds,” Smith said.

Smith said “Rough Magic” offers her cast the challenge of pacing, an important aspect of shaping scenes and one that can be hard to master, especially when the pace of the script varies like Aguirre-Sacasa’s does, from rapid fire action to touching, more contemplative moments. It challenges the technical students as well, as the story is informed by lighting and sound elements. The technical virtuosity is an aspect of the show that Smith said audiences won’t want to miss.

The show is an ideal opener for the VPA theatre season, which features four mainstage productions all centered on magic: “Rough Magic”; “Tuck Everlasting” Dec. 12-15; “Macbeth” Feb. 20-22; and “Seussical” Apr. 16-19. “Rough Magic” focuses on the dangers of misusing magic and the consequences that can occur.

A critic’s darling, “Rough Magic” reminds audiences that “we need to listen to our inner voices and take chances,” Smith said.

“Rough Magic” runs Oct. 10-12 at 7 p.m. in the VPA theatre at Booker High School. Sunny Smith directs; lighting design by Nick Jones; scenic design by Caleb Carrier; projection and sound design by Alex Pinchin. ​