Friday, 14 August 2009

Exploring and developing our ideas about The Tempest

We have experimented with different people playing different roles, both men and women playing Prospero and Caliban.

Extract 1 from our scrapbook

Exploring and developing our ideas about The Tempest

We have spent a long time looking at the characters in The Tempest and their relationships with each other. This helps us to understand the story of The Tempest. We have also been looking at the ‘back’ stories in The Tempest, what happens before the play begins: Prospero as the Duke of Milan and his daughter Miranda before they come to the island; Sycorax banished to the island and the birth of Caliban; the island before any human being arrives on it.
This period of looking at the story, playing and messing around with the story, is very important for us. It is part of how we understand The Tempest, how we want to tell the story and what it means to us. We have kept scrapbooks of all the work we have done during this period and include a couple of extracts from our scrapbooks here. The scrapbooks will help us develop a working script for The Tempest. We are now scripting the story of The Tempest as we will tell it and we will use this blog to let you know how rehearsals are going.

Extract 1. We have explored ideas and feelings around name calling, being the punished and the punisher; the differences between being a master, a servant and a slave. There is a feeling that Caliban changes into what Prospero calls him: Vile monster, slave! How does Caliban feel? It reminds us of the work we did on The Lying Doctors:

When you are called a name enough
You get to think it is right
You can't get away from it
(from The Lying Doctors).

Prospero is very powerful at the height of his magical powers and we have been experimenting with the idea of having more than one person playing Prospero. We have also been experimenting with different conventions (making a rule or agreement about how we show/represent something on stage) to show Prospero as being played by more than one performer. Note the glasses: every person who plays Prospero wears identical glasses.

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