The Tempest – A play by William Shakespeare

Def: Tempest: –noun

1. a violent windstorm, esp. one with rain, hail, or snow.
2. a violent commotion, disturbance, or tumult


We got free tickets to this play after another play cancelled. This is our first time watching a Shakespeare play and Mike and I were hesitant about going. Would a layman, with no prior knowledge of Shakespear be able to understand the play? I studied Julius Caesar for O’levels and thought I might have a problem understanding it, and was hoping for some subtitles’ help. Unfortunately, there was none. I tried to read up from Wikipedia on what the play is about but there was just too many characters involved to leave an impression.
The stage has a backdrop against a pool of water, and in the centre of the stage was a circle filled with sand. It was after some time that I realised that the backdop was meant to be a ship, and the circle an island. The speeches were not clear, and at times soft. This was touted to be a comedy but laughters were few and only concentrated to a few individuals. I wondered if the rest of the audience were as clueless as I, among the audience was Minister Teo Chee Hean. Music was provided by a violinist who also played the guitars and a percussionist. The only impressive part was the percussionist, who provided the tempo and mood to the acts.
I dozed off halfway and wanted to leave during the intermission, but there was none. A couple behind left half way, the couple on Mike’s left fell asleep and the few Italians behind me were also bored.
So, unless you are a Shakespeare’s fan or an English Lit teacher, you may want to give this play a miss.
For those interested, I copied the synopsis from Wikipedia:
The play’s protagonist, Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, has been usurped by his brother Antonio and Alonso, the King of Naples. Prospero and his daughter Miranda have been put into a tiny boat and sent away to a deserted island far from civilisation. When Prospero comes ashore, he finds two inhabitants there: Ariel, a spirit, and Caliban, presumed to be Ariel’s brother. The witch Sycorax, who died years before Prospero’s arrival, had imprisoned Ariel in a tree. Prospero frees Ariel, who becomes bound to serve him. For the next twelve years, Prospero practices his sorcery, ultimately raising a tempest that drives his usurpers ashore. The entire play takes place on the island, where the native inhabitants, Ariel and Caliban, aid or hinder his work.

The play opens as Prospero, having divined that his brother, Antonio, is on a ship passing close by the island, has raised a tempest which causes the ship to run aground. Also on the ship are Antonio’s friend and fellow conspirator, King Alonso of Naples, Alonso’s brother and son (Sebastian and Ferdinand), and Alonso’s advisor, Gonzalo. All these passengers are returning from the wedding of Alonso’s daughter Claribel with the King of Tunis. Prospero, by his spells, contrives to separate the survivors of the wreck into several groups. Alonso and Ferdinand are separated and believe one another to be dead.

Three plots then alternate through the play. In one, Caliban falls in with Stephano and Trinculo, two drunkards, whom he believes to have come from the moon. They attempt to raise a rebellion against Prospero, which ultimately fails. In another, Prospero works to establish a romantic relationship between Ferdinand and Miranda; the two fall immediately in love, but Prospero worries that "too light winning [may] make the prize light", and compels Ferdinand to become his servant, pretending that he regards him as a spy. In the third subplot, Antonio and Sebastian conspire to kill Alonso and Gonzalo so that Sebastian can become King. They are thwarted by Ariel, at Prospero’s command. Ariel appears to the "three men of sin" (Alonso, Antonio and Sebastian) as a harpy, reprimanding them for their betrayal of Prospero. Prospero manipulates the course of his enemies’ path through the island, drawing them closer and closer to him.

In the conclusion, all the main characters are brought together before Prospero, who forgives Alonso. He also forgives Antonio and Sebastian, but warns them against further betrayal. Ariel is charged to prepare the proper sailing weather to guide Alonso and his entourage (including Prospero and Miranda) back to the Royal fleet and then to Naples, where Ferdinand and Miranda will be married. After discharging this task, Ariel will finally be free. Prospero pardons Caliban, who is sent to prepare Prospero’s cell, to which Alonso and his party are invited for a final night before their departure. Prospero indicates that he intends to entertain them with the story of his life on the island. Prospero has resolved to break and bury his wizard’s staff, and "drown" his book of magic. In his epilogue, shorn of his magic powers, he invites the audience to set him free from the island with their applause.(Did he do that last night?)


About vickychong

Just an ordinary woman.
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