The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Performed by Class 10
Before heading off on their Wilderness class trip to Sweden, Class 10 made the time to share their end-of-year performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Tempest’ with us. What a magnificent play it is, and how magnificently performed it was – we loved it!
We know this class well and as the first scenes opened we were immediately reminded of their last 2 striking performances: ‘Galileo’ (in Class 7) and ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ (in Class 8) – both done with their class teacher Jenny Drake, and both performances almost disturbingly good! – and we knew we were in for a splendid evening!
The play opens with the Boatswain’s frantic storm speech, and closes with Prospero’s thoughtful reflections. The scenes in-between, veering as they did from the moving trysts of the lovers, Miranda and Ferdinand, to the wonderful drunken brawling of Caliban, Trinculo and Stephano; from the murderous scheming of Antonia and Sebastian against Alonzo and Gonzalo, to the tender exchanges between Prospero and Arial, between Prospero and Miranda – all these contrasts were beautifully brought out. It must be said that the acting was simply marvellous. We were instantly drawn in. There are some real stars here - but every part was played with a full heart.
The set was beautiful: tons of fine white sand on which the wrecked ship lay, took us straight to the island on which they were stranded. Costumes excellent too – (just one garment surviving from my own Class 8 Tempest of 35 years ago… sewn by my own fair hand!).
Nancy Urry and the Class are wholeheartedly thanked, on behalf of us all, for a mature and lovely performance of this great play – thanks also for lighting, sound and lovely singing, as well as to parents and all other supporters who brought the evening together in such a wonderful way.
Christine Polyblank June 2018
Shakespeare’s comedy about a major act of betrayal, ill-treatment, the development of magic arts and a plot of revenge.
Twelve years ago, Prospero was Duke of Milan. Being of a bookish disposition, he withdrew more and more into his studies, leaving the management of his state to his brother Antonio. Eventually, with the help of Alonso, King of Naples, and the King's brother Sebastian - inveterate enemies of Prospero - Antonio usurped the dukedom for himself. Prospero and his baby daughter Miranda were put to sea in a rotten boat and eventually landed on a distant island once ruled by the witch Sycorax but now inhabited only by her son, Caliban, and Ariel, a spirit.
Since then Prospero has ruled the island and its two inhabitants by the use of magic arts derived from his studies. His daughter Miranda has grown up seeing no other human being.
Prospero divines that fortune has brought his enemies close to the island and he sees an opportunity to work his revenge. He uses his powers to raise a storm which shipwrecks them. When Miranda questions this, he tells her the story of their arrival on the island and assures her that no real harm will come to the survivors.
The shipwrecked travellers are separated. At Prospero's bidding, the invisible Ariel directs their wanderings. He leads Ferdinand, the King's son, to Prospero's cell, where he and Miranda fall instantly in love. Prospero sets heavy tasks to test Ferdinand.
PLOTS TO KILL
The King of Naples searches for his son, although fearing him to be drowned. Sebastian, the king's brother, plots to kill him and seize the crown. The drunken butler, Stephano, and the jester, Trinculo, encounter Caliban and are persuaded by him to kill Prospero so that they can rule the island. However, Ariel manages to make mischief between them and they are soon bickering amongst themselves.
BLESSINGS OF MARRIAGE
Satisfied that Ferdinand has met all his challenges, Prospero presents the young couple with a betrothal masque celebrating chastity and the blessings of marriage. He is distracted from this, however, when he remembers Caliban's plot...
As Prospero's plan draws to its climax, he vows that upon its completion he will abandon his magic arts. Ariel brings Alonso and his followers to the cell, and Prospero, in his own persona as Duke of Milan, confronts his enemies and forgives them. In the betrothal of Ferdinand and Miranda, the rift between Naples and Milan is healed.
Finally, Prospero grants Ariel his freedom and prepares to leave the island for Milan and his restored Dukedom.
(This text is quoted from the Royal Shakespeare Company website).