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“The Tempest” Play at St. Louis Shakespeare Festival


The Tempest is a widely known play by the well-known author Shakespeare. The creation tells a story of a man (who used to be a Duke) being trapped on an island with his daughter. One of the modern interpretations of the piece was shown at the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival (St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, 2012). The stage, lighting, and other visual aids help the viewer understand the plot of the story better. This paper aims to explain the viewing experience of the play The Tempest at the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival.

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Viewing and Reflection

The stage of the play is relatively small, which allows viewing the events easily. The important aspect that reflects the mood of the story is the lighting. In the beginning and throughout the play it is dim; thus the viewer mostly sees the shadows of characters. In some scenes, the only light visible is the fire near Prospero. It creates an atmosphere suitable for the plot, specifically in the section that shows a storm at sea.

Visually, the actors display the events excellently as they move as if a strong wind is blowing across the stage. The costumes of the actors are suitable for the environment in which their characters are; they are minimalistic and mostly grey and brown. The aspect stands out as it creates a distinction between Prospero’s past as a Duke and his current life. The characters in the story are portrayed well by the actors, thus understanding the motivation behind their actions is easier.

The tone of the performance is varied, from a worrying storm to fascinating storytelling of Prospero’s past. It is created through the combination of different elements. The scene in which Prospero explains the details of his life to Miranda is easier to understand in the play. The central feature that stood out in this performance is the change in mood. Viewing this performance has provided an understanding that theater is an exciting art form in contemporary culture.

Dramatic arts provide people with an opportunity to view the written story as it is being performed on stage. This aspect of it gives people a unique opportunity to visualize the plot that was written by an author. It is especially fascinating to see a theatrical interpretation of a plot, written by a world-famous author, such as Shakespeare. The viewing of The Tempest in the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival provides a possibility to look at the well-known piece of art in a new light (2012).

The mentioned adaptation reflects the mood of the storyline flawlessly. Stewart states that the viewing of a play has a different audience awareness when compared to reading a book (as cited in Berry, 2016). Thus, looking at the stage with performing actors captures one’s attention differently. A distinct feature of the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival’s interpretation is stage lighting that is utilized throughout the play (St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, 2012).

It is dingy, creating a specific perception of an island in the middle of a storm for the audience. The decorations and the costumes suit the story’s setting perfectly. Although there are not many decorative elements on the stage, those that are in place present an island landscape. The clothes of the main characters are simple, without any distinct features.

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The actors provide a good rendering of their characters, as they use their voices and facial expressions to convey the mood. The performance creates an atmosphere that reflects that story, utilizing a variety of elements. The motivation behaving the actions of Prospero is easier to understand when viewing it on stage. The details that stood out throughout the performance are the musical accompaniment at the beginning of the play and the movements of the actors. Thus, the performance suggests that theater is a viable form of art in contemporary culture as it helps showcase Shakespeare’s play to the audience.


Berry, R. (2016). Shakespeare and the awareness of the audience. New York, NY: Routledge.

St. Louis Shakespeare Festival. (2010). Shakespeare’s The Tempest . Web.

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