Berkeley Breaks into the Film Industry

Berkeley’s theater program premieres The Tempest on February 5th, though not as the usual yearly musical, but as a film

In the middle of a pandemic, theater lives on at Berkeley Prep because of The Tempest. Instead of a play, students adapted by taking part in a production similar to what one might think Hollywood would be like. Through careful planning, students worked from June until the week of the premiere to put together their COVID safe story, and it paid off.


Students such as Emily Patrick ’22, Brianna Serafin ’21, Emily Wahba ’21 and others that took part in the play watched their work put together for the first time along with family and friends. Students sat on blankets and lawn chairs on the mound like at an old-fashioned outdoor movie as they enjoyed a production so well done that it was hard to believe it was made by highschoolers. The cinematography itself was a masterpiece, and the music (all composed by student Katie Fletcher ’21) was beautiful and well crafted to fit each scene. The fact that high school students were making this movie never crossed my mind.


To ensure that the film was compiled wonderfully, the acting and the editing was essential, and the cast and crew did a fantastic job of this. Speaking through Shakespearean English, the cast made their speech seem natural while focusing their attention on facial expression, which was something that Emily Wahba ’21 noticed was most likely the major difference between acting in a play and acting on screen. In many parts of the film, Emily Patrick ’21, who played Prospero, spoke to her Ariels, or spirits, and commanded them to do many tasks for her. The Ariels were all edited into the actual footage of Patrick, who was actually having a conversation with a tree while seeming at ease. Through special effects such as smoke and fading of the spirits’ faces, the play seemed professional. 


The cast and crew, though not able to perform in the Lykes Center this year due to construction, was able to embark on the challenge of facing Shakepeare’s The Tempest due to Chris Marshall’s (director of The Tempest and head of the Berkeley theater department) dedication to using the year to their advantage. For the first time, in the middle of construction and a pandemic, Berkeley’s theater students premiered an amazing work of art, one that highlights the racism Caliban faces, in order to make the best of a very long year. 

SENIOR SEASON: Seniors starring in The Tempest were each honored with a banner, which is also given each year to seniors on sports teams. Photo by Rachel Mintz ’21
A REIMAGINED SCREENING: To stay safe during the pandemic, the audience is required to wear masks and asked to sit socially distanced to take precautionary measures on the Mount. Photo by Rachel Mintz ’21
SENIOR NIGHT: Seniors (minus Katie Fletcher ’21) stand on the red carpet before The Tempest begins. Photo by Rachel Mintz ’21
GRATITUDE: Senior Emily Wahba ’21 speaks for the group while thanking Chris Marshall, who directed The Tempest and spent countless hours on every detail of the production. Photo by Rachel Mintz ’21