Mary's musings

Mary Hoffman, author of over 90 children's books, including the Stravaganza series and Amazing Grace, has begun a web journal which will be updated roughly once a week. You can read more on

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Isle was full of noises

Last night the whole family went to Stratford to see Patrick Stewart as Prospero in The Tempest. I put it that way because he was a towering presence in the performance - though it would be a poor acxtor who could mess up such a part.

The director had taken the extraordinary decision to set the play in the Arctic circle, thus making nonsense of "Come unto these yellow sands", all references to being blown off course between Tunis and Naples and the generally North african allusions to coral, marmosets etc. It was very consistent, with the fairy banquet being a large raw dead seal on a sledge. And the masque just before the end threatened to unbalance the whole play when three staggeringly beautiful women sang an inuit song and performed a presumably Inuit dance before getting down to the ritual tril;as by fire and water.

Ariel was amazing and absolutely terrifying - once appearing out of the entrails of said dead seal, as a pink and bloody bird skeleton. It was the closest he got to flight - no wires for this Ariel - as he glided white-faced about the stage in a black robe. Unfortunately he reminded all my irreverent daughters of Kenneth Williams in Willo the Wisp! caliban was just thrown away - a vaguely thuggish rustic. You really have to address the fact that the "monster" has some of the most beautiful lines in the play.

It was very loud, from the beginning when a Shipping Forecast announced foul weather in the path of the King of Naples' ship. This aspect was a bit too much for Jess, one of whose symptoms is not being able to stand loud or high-pitched noises.


Post a Comment

<< Home