Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Tempest LIVE!

My amazing Hubbin and a couple of friends took me out the other night to a fabulous dinner, and a killer performance of William Shakespeare's The Tempest.  The Tempest is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays and seeing performed live was the best.  A quick summation (and SPOILERS) of the play is as follows.
Prospero, a magician and his daughter Miranda have been marooned/exiled on a magical isle for years.  Prospero was the Duke of Milan before being exiled by his brother Antonio.  He learns that that his brother and company are on a ship and he raises a tempest to wreck the ship on his island.  Prospero commands the spirit Ariel and tasks it with several jobs concerning the shipwrecked crew.  Antonio's son Ferdinand is separated from the group and put to work by Prospero.  Meanwhile, Caliban, a native of the island, and a slave of Prospero's who falls in with a drunk and a clown from the shipwreck.  The three form a drunken agreement to overthrow Prospero, adding some much needed humor tot the play.  Antonio and his group experience several difficulties and finally end up with Prospero through the machinations of Ariel.  They discover that Ferdinand and Miranda have fallen in love and want to be married.  Prospero forgives all who have wronged him, sets Caliban free and enjoins Ariel to make ready good sailing weather.  Ariel is finally freed after this last task and Prospero renounces magic by breaking his staff.  This is but a brief synopsis if you want more...well go read or watch it :-).
The production of The Tempest I got to see was put on by the Shakespeare Theatre Company and was very well done.  The best part of the whole production had to be the set.  The stage and theatre itself was super cool to begin with, there were no bad seats and it was just awesome.  The sets themselves were extremely well done.  They utilized the entire stage, including the wings, which made for a very dynamic staging.  The main set was an impressive shipwreck on a mound of real sand, with a sun that traveled across the sky.  The casting and costumes were pretty well done,  I really liked how they showed Prospero's magic using actors as spirits that blended into the island background and were almost always present.  They did what Prospero bid but were supposed to be "invisible" to the characters, which was pretty cool.  The only real problem I had was with the
character of Ariel.  This is my favorite character in the play and I have a very definite preference for how the spirit is played.  I like it to be played androgynous, wild and elemental.  This is totally a personal preference.  This Ariel was played a bit to saucy and comical for my taste.  They had her on this really cool rope system to fly around the stage, and they made the rope a part of what tied her to Prospero, which was a great way to incorporate a necessary part of the staging.  The actress felt to practiced in her movements, I could almost see her thinking about each move "place this hand here, extend toes now" and so on and so forth.  Considering the rest of the blocking, this could have been how the director wanted it played as most of the characters moved in a very deliberate and pointed manner, but for me the character lost a lot of it's wildness and elementalness.  I felt like instead of a captured spirit of the wind, I was watching a Christmas angel.  Overall I very much enjoyed the play and cannot wait to go see another one.  Happy Reading Everybody!

1 comment:

  1. I just wanna say...that I DID NOT fall asleep for most of the show...even though we had an awesome dinner just before that most normal people would have been soooo full and sleepy after eating that they would have had no possible way of staying awake in a dark, warm theater with sleepy music playing the whole time. Yup. I mean..No, I did not sleep during any of this awesome show.