Monday, November 12, 2007

Performance Notes: The Tempest

Royal Shakespeare Company, Novello Theater
March 2, 2007
DIrected: Rupert Goold
Featuring: Patrick Stewart, John Light, Julian Beach, Mariah Gale

* Frozen tundra curious choice for island. Text has mention of trees and creatures, but it’s hard to imagine them living on ice. Gonzalo’s talk of grass? Little forced

* Inuit magic used as Prospero’s charms. Bear costume…unexpected.

* Miranda given awkward characterization. On the one hand, no outside contact makes sense. On the other, speech seems too elegant to match the delivery. Tended to robotic.

* Prospero’s characterization also uneven. Sometimes harsh, sometimes comic, sometimes tender, but no sense of evolution—too sudden

* Ariel robotic android ice creature. Very odd. Black, almost Asian-collared frock coat, not at all congruent with others. Kind of space aged. Long scene changes, slow pacing with the snow lights, hour glass

* Cut the Masque, replaced with the goddess ritual of fire and chanting and walking on their backs with Prospero watching, and then the parade of people…unclear if Ferdinand and Miranda can see these

* John Hopkins better as Sebastian. Aside to black actor when complaining about sending Claribel to Africa added to funny/rude irreverence if character. Cut Gonzalo line about moving the moon would have contributed to that, but oh well

* No sense of urgency in the storm scene, though good setting inside submarine

* Trinculo lower class speech funny, adds to character. Trinculo/Stephano scenes rely more of crass humor (sticking the bottle…yeah…), but not in a way that fits with the rest (more inconsistency)

* Some characters really cold, some not. Ferdinand, Caliban, Prospero, not cold at all, Sebastian and Antonio, very cold.

* Ariel coming out of the seal/manatee/walrus/big dead sea animal way creepy and terrifying with bone bird skeleton and blood, blood, blood brought on by furry hooded goddesses

* “Goddesses” served as spirits with eerie singing with Ariel, some scene changes, marriage ceremony

* Caliban human, half dressed, dreds. Interesting, dance-like movement, not used as much as it could be. controlled with ropes, but sometimes free? Lunges for Miranda, yanked back out of the air by Prospero

* Ferdinand_in love with Miranda or not? Sometimes yes, sometimes just caught up in what’s happening, odd juxtaposition with language of love to have an expression of constant disease

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