Friday, March 04, 2011

Episode 893: Some Further Thoughts On The Tempest

So thanks to Elaine, I got my wish! Saw The Tempest again tonight, for free. It was clearly a more fun way of spending time than trying to work out dialogue for my play, although one of Elaine's housemates may have provided me a helpful way to get through this section I'm currently having difficulty with. (I can write the dialogue, but it just doesn't sound right for something that has to be performed. It sounds either too boring or too pretentious, and I can't even decide which it is!) Anyway, there were a couple of minor but significant differences from last night's performance. When Antonio came out, instead of standing stage left, he came and sat down centre stage. Likewise, when the King of Naples came out, he took over the seat, and the two characters interacted more, rather than standing passively at opposite sides of the stage. The other difference I noticed was when Ariel repeatedly says 'Thou liest', and Stephano thinks it's Trinculo speaking. Rather than speaking the words from above, Ariel walked around the platform in which the action was taking place. I thought this made the whole situation a lot more plausible.

There's also a couple of things I forgot to mention last night. Firstly, the massive age disparity between the King/Prospero and Sebastian/Antonio. In a way, it kind of suggested that what the younger characters were doing was seizing power from an older, tottering generation. That said, I also had a more sympathetic view of Prospero tonight. I wouldn't now go so far as to say that his declarations to Ariel were false, but rather that they existed alongside an almost feral anger that he had cultivated on the island. For me, the line that resonated most across both nights was Ariel's haunting 'Mine would, sir, were I human.' It seemed to capture an unspoken wish, for which the desire to be freed from Prospero's service was merely a substitute. Interestingly, Ariel is left at the end with no one to show tenderness to except the 'monster' Caliban. I also found it peculiar that in the scene where Prospero reveals all to the Duke and his companions, Ariel is seated centre stage and observes the proceedings, turning his head to track movements across the stage. I'm not sure what to make of this detail though. See Pete Kirwan's entry for stuff on the communist/capitalist aspect of the production. Oh yeah, should probably also mention that I got the MA offer from Warwick. Just need 65% overall and another reference from a full-time staff member.

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