The Tempest

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The Tempest

Postby Barry » Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:35 am

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, December 22nd, 2016

Well this was something special, but perhaps not for the reason the RSC were expecting. The production had been much trumpeted for the digital technology that allowed ariel to transform into various different creatures and be projected over various parts of the set. that element, I'm afraid, was distinctly clunky, with jerky real time animation, not very clear images, and necessitating the endless lowering raising of various screens on which to project the images. Well, with the actors and especially ariel doing a more balletic and physical performance on the stage, these images were rather redundant. And for all these projections, the projections still felt very heavy. there was now flying as such.
But it was a special production in many other ways. The light was spectacular, transforming the carcass of a vast ship into woods and trees, flowers, clouds and even lava at one point, and the masque did make good use of singing and projections. But what made the production was the clarity of the storytelling. Simon Russell Beale as Propsero did his last two monologues in a simple white clean light, with no tricks, and my heart was in my mouth, truly realising what great writing this is, and how sad. A beautiful moment was Prospero releasing Ariel, and Ariel hesitating, looking back, almost asking what he should do now. There's was a complex but touching relationship. Likewise with Caliban.
So full marks for the production, but a big 'meh' for the technology. I enjoyed the final few moments so much that I will try to see the production when screened next month. How will the images come across then I don't know.
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