Thursday, 15 March 2007

The Tempest - RSC @ Novello, London

14th March

Fantastic vision of The Tempest as a post apocalyptic hinterland by Rupert Goold. Aside from King Lear, this is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays simply because it contains so many verbal imageries of the sea. I love the sound of the compound words in the play like 'sea-sorrow', 'sea-storm' and it is ironic that the 2 non-human characters in the play, Ariel and Caliban have some of the most elegant lines in the whole cannon. There was an excruciatingly long pause as Prospero realises how hardened his heart has become after Ariel tells him he would show compassion if he was human. In this version, Ariel is rendered almost frozen and immobile through the spell Prospero has place on him which has a whole raft of Beckettian overtones. The clowning between Stephano, Trincalo and Caliban was some of the best I'd ever seen and both Antonio and Sebastian were played with the right combination of sarcasm and cynicism. I loved the opening storm scene and Gonzalo's little speech about his socialist vision of utopia without a dependency on oil seemed so modern, especially in light of the war on Iraq.

Being one of Shakespeare last plays in the Romance genre, the themes of redemption, reconciliation and transformation are pretty potent ideas. I was still in a thoughtful mode this morning contemplating the filmic, stage images and felt strangely cleansed and transformed. I really wish more Shakespeare plays were presented in this way.

No comments: