The Tempest is one of the many plays written in the 17th century by William Shakespeare – one of the most famous English writers and playwrights of all time. The Tempest is a story of magic, revenge, political trickery, intimidation, and arranged marriages to secure a position of power. It reflects the realities of Italian politics while at the same time adding an element of mystery and magic into the mix. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the performance of Savage Rose’s classical theater company in regards to the use of the staging, the choice of costumes, the implementation of the lighting, and the overall performance of the actors.
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In theater, the choice of staging is paramount. During the spectacle performed by the Savage Rose in 2014, the stage was set up to illustrate the ship, as a good portion of the play revolves around the crew weathering the storm cast by Prospero. The stage effectively consists of two stairways flanking an entrance to the left and the right, which resembles a passage towards the captain’s quarters, and creates a convincing image when the deckhands start swarming out of the passage, trying to save the ship from sinking (Savage Rose Theater, 2014). Afterward, the stage is effectively used to represent several other locations, such as various homes and palaces, after Prospero restores himself as the Duke of Milan.
Lighting, Music, and Costumes
The use of lighting and costumes by the Savage Rose company was brilliant. The darkening moods and the shaky lamp effect was perfect to create an illusion of being on board of the ship during a storm. In most scenes, lighting is dynamic, used not only to recreate the time of the day or the weather but also to translate the mood of the scene, emphasizing struggle and drama. The music synergized with the lighting effects, creating a three-dimensional atmosphere, which worked excellently in any scenes with magic and the elements involved (Savage Rose Theater, 2014). The costumes were used for two purposes – to add in the immersion by replicating the classic patterns of medieval Italy while at the same time using a creative license in order to distinguish important characters from another and emphasize their defining features.
The performance of the majority of the characters in this piece seems somewhat eccentric by modern standards – overly loud and with exaggerated reactions towards the situations that the characters are faced with. This is the heritage of many classical theater schools, where both action and voice had to be emphasized in order to reach the farthest rows of spectators (Savage Rose Theater, 2014). The apparent eccentric manner of pronunciation also reflects the realities of the 17th century. The actors speak in modern English, as the English have changed considerably in the past several centuries, which leaves an imprint on the performance (“The Tempest,” n.d.).
Performance versus Text
In many aspects, theatrical visualization of the play is superior to the text version. It helps convey the atmosphere, the emotions of the characters, and the mood of the piece in general. However, it leaves less to the imagination, which is the only advantage that the text version of the play has, as it allows the reader to paint a picture in their own mind.
Theater and Contemporary Culture
In the 21st century, the theater has to compete with cinema and animation, which forced many troupes to adapt and increase the entertainment value of its performance. As it is possible to see in the play, the Savage Rose company utilizes music, lighting, and the historical adaptation of the script to magnify the impact on the audience and make the messages clearer. In contemporary culture, theater remains the only true 3D experience that neither cinema nor animation is capable of replicating. Watching theater requires a certain suspension of disbelief, but the feeling of physical and emotional presence makes it all worthwhile.
Savage Rose Theater. (2014). The Tempest – full play. Web.
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The Tempest. (n.d.). Web.