The Tempest

REVIEW: THE TEMPEST

On Friday 4th November, Kensington School students in Forms 3, 4 and 5 were fortunate enough to experience a very pleasant rendition of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, at the Teatre-Auditori Sant Cugat in Sant Cugat, Spain, performed by Barcelona-based musical ensemble Le Tendre Amour.

The Tempest is set on an island where Prospero, a powerful magician who is the rightful duke of Milan, lives with his daughter, Miranda. He was exiled there by his scheming brother, Antonio, who betrayed him with the help of Alonso, King of Naples. When he finds out that Alonso and Antonio are on a ship nearby Prospero conjures up a magical storm that leaves them stranded on his island, along with Ferdinand, Alonso’s son, Sebastian, Alonso’s brother, and his counselor Gonzalo. Throughout the play, Prospero enlists the help of Ariel, his loyal servant to make Ferdinand and Miranda fall in love with each other. Meanwhile, Caliban (Prospero’s resentful servant) plots to murder him, and Antontio and Sebastian also plot to kill Alonso and Gonzalo. The end of the play is rather unexpected and unusual for Shakespeare, thus making The Tempest very interesting indeed.

The play was very different to most others because there were only two actors playing all of the different characters. Eliot Giuralarocca, the main actor, played Prospero, Alonso and Antonio. Rachel Winters, the main actress, portrayed Miranda, Gonzalo, Sebastian, Caliban and Ariel.
During the scenes focused on Miranda and Ferdinand’s love for each other, the actors used a tall stick with an object on top of it, which represented each character. In Miranda’s case this was a flower crown and in Ferdinand’s case it was a blue hat. This was rather unusual, and although it may not have been everyone’s cup of tea it gave the play a uniqueness that differentiates it from others.

However, what stood out the most in the play were the five professional musicians on stage who played live music with instruments that Shakespeare himself would have recognized, for they were the typical musical instruments of that era. The live music certainly contributed to the mood of the play, and it gave the whole production a very pleasant air of authenticity.

The props and the set were also very charming, and they were mostly handled by the five musicians, who accompanied everything with very interesting and enjoyable sound effects. They ensured everything flowed together nicely.

The costumes were also appropriate, the most interesting one being the costume worn to represent Ariel and Caliban. The costume was designed so that one side of it was green and blue (representing Ariel) and the other was red and orange (representing Caliban). This way, the actress could play both Ariel and Caliban in the same scene, and all she had to do was turn around when she wanted to play one or the other. This linked to the idea that Ariel and Caliban seem to be inverse to each other; they are both Prospero’s servants, but Ariel is loyal and obedient while Caliban is hateful and rebellious. This way of representing both characters was fun and creative, and it was done very well so that it wasn’t at all confusing.

Overall, the play was unique and authentic, and very enjoyable. While I might have preferred there being more than only two actors during the whole play, these two actors did a wonderful job and performed very convincingly. In fact, even though each actor portrayed a variety of different characters, it never got confusing because they enacted their roles very well. Their performances were very believable, and their voice tones and body gestures stayed true to their characters. They delivered passion and conviction. And of course, the live music was fantastic and bestowed the play with a lot of depth. The play certainly achieved its goal of showing us what a theatre representation might have been like during Shakespeare’s time.

If you’re looking for something quirky, fun, creative and unique, I encourage you to go and see this production. This play offers a full Shakespeare experience, and it’s certainly one of a kind!

Natalia Baird-Ludlow

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