Shakespearean works are said to be timeless. The famous plays of the great Bard of Avon are known to be staged on an occasional basis in some of the most eminent theatres around the world and attract audiences from practically every corner of the globe. Critics view such works as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet as the reflection and classic interpretation of sixteenth-century Europe. However, today’s paper will not deal with any of the mentioned masterpieces. The following research will be devoted to the play that is considered to be the last work of the great master. The name of it in The Tempest.
The Tempest staged by the Savage Rose Theatre Company represents a fresh look at the known performance and a proper combination of tragedy with comedic elements. During the entire play, the stage decorations do not change; one can track the features of the ship’s stern and captain’s cabin remaining on the stage. Following the plot, the ship gets destroyed by the storm in the very first act (Zabus, 2016).
A spectator knows that this storm (the tempest) was conjured by Prospero, the sorcerer, and the protagonist of the story. Speaking of the spell he has cast, the mixture of lighting, sounds, and professional actors’ play allows one to experience the fear of the storm to the full extent. The flashing and tarnishing light, growls of thunder, and hustling passengers wearing the costumes of the Elizabethan epoch England create an atmosphere of despair. The way the actors fall and roll in the same direction on the deck helps to clearly understand where the wave has come from. Naturally, such a development of the events depicts the hopelessness of the situation exactly the way Shakespeare intended.
As to the mood and the tone the performance creates, it varies depending on the act. As was mentioned, the first act creates an atmosphere of terror and hopelessness. The following scene, however, evokes directly opposite feelings within a viewer. The dialogue between Prospero and his daughter Miranda makes one sympathize with the characters and even laugh a couple of times at comic remarks. The mood is usually created through the actors’ emotional cues, lighting, and accompanying sounds.
The two parts of the performance, with one depicting the storm and the other showing how Ferdinand, Prospero, and Miranda meet, are undoubtedly the easiest to be understood by the audience. The stage decorations that appear to be the reminders of the main idea of the play and sincerity of Miranda and Ferdinand’s feelings appear to be the details that stand out through the play. The combination of these two elements forms a background for one’s genuine interest in the further development of the events (Howard & O’Connor, 2013). Judging by the reaction the audience expresses it is clear they are amazed by the actors’ play and want to see more. Naturally, this fact leads to the conclusion that theatre has retained its glory and will never be replaced by cinema, television, or other means of media present in contemporary culture.
In closing, one needs to stress that the performance is steeped in the traditions and canons of the Shakespearean epoch. The costumes, decorations, and stage lighting effects create an atmosphere that keeps a spectator involved throughout the play. Also, the laughter coming from the hall serves as the evidence to the fact that the audience is primed for visiting theatre regularly, even though the age of electronics has invaded the life of modern society.
Howard, J. E., & O’Connor, M. F. (Eds.). (2013). Shakespeare reproduced: The text in history and ideology. New York, NY: Routledge.
Zabus, C. (2016). Tempests after Shakespeare. New York, NY: Springer.