TWIN FALLS — Nobody is certain whether “The Tempest” is William Shakespeare’s final work, but CSI professor and theater director Laine Steel says it will be his last.
“The Tempest” is more than just the story of Prospero, the deposed duke turned sorcerer who must decide between his desire for revenge and freedom that can only come from forgiveness. It’s about the power of creativity, illusions and theater.
Steel said he always wanted “The Tempest” to be his final show.
“This is a show that is about what it takes to be an artist, what it means to create art, what it means to share it with an audience,” Steel said. “Shakespeare is saying ‘I’ve given you this piece of work, now it’s up to you to carry on.’ I felt strongly that it’s time the next generation takes over.”
Steel is finishing his 29-year career at College of Southern Idaho’s theater department with the “The Tempest.” Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Saturday at the CSI Fine Arts Theater.
Shane Brown, a theatre instructor at CSI, is portraying Prospero in the production. He’s acting alongside CSI students and hopes to show them how professional actors interact with directors.
“I have such respect for Laine,” Brown said. “It’s exciting to work with him on his supposedly last show. But he’s always welcome to come back.”
Steel started working at CSI as a professor in 1989, but his history with the school goes further back. His father, LaVar Steel, worked at the college as a professor of art.
The younger Steel’s first job was mowing the lawn on campus when he was 10 years old. He went to school at CSI, where he got degrees in music and theater before going to the University of Utah to continue his career. At age 31, he returned to CSI to put on a production of “Beauty and the Beast.” The following day the president of CSI, Jerry Meyerhoff, offered him a job.
He would go on to direct “Sweeney Todd,” “I Never Sang for My Father,” and many more.
Five years ago, Steel suffered a heart attack that changed his perspective. He realized he needed to spend time with his family and cross more items off of his bucket list. He is ready to put aside the distractions that come with a full-time career and focus on the little things.
“It’s a frightening experience to retire,” Steel said. “I’ll let you know what it’s like when I get there.”