Play Director For A Minute

Over the weekend a director asked for my opinion on his staging of an upcoming Tempest.  Cool!  If he’s listening he can jump in, but I’m not going to identify him without his permission because it’s for a competition and I’d hate to leak any surprises :). I’m no director, as I’m sure we all know. I’m no actor at all.  I just don’t have the visual imagination for it.  I have to put myself more in the “Shakespeare as literature” group when it comes to that stuff.  Doesn’t mean that I don’t have opinions on what makes a good story, though! This director and I spoke mostly about how to open the play, and whether you can get away with moving the shipwreck scene (later Ariel will describe the scene anyway, so is that enough?) Could you act out Prospero’s story of how they came to arrive on the island, show Prospero as Duke, sitting in a library, surrounded by his politician brother (and his cronies) becoming angry that he’s not paying attention to him, and so on? Maybe a little dumb show right at the start? There might well be good theatrical reasons *not* to do some of these things.  Personally I prefer a big opening, something attention grabbing. So, here’s the game.  Whether you’re a theatre pro or not, director or not, pick a scene and tell us how you’d stage it.  We don’t need to get into every last nuance of how you want the actors to *play* the scene (though you can give it a shot). I’m more interested in the off the wall stuff, like the dude who SETS THE TEMPEST IN NAZI GERMANY.  It can be something you’ve done, if you’re a director, but it’s not as fun if it’s something you saw somebody else do.  This is your chance to show *your* ideas, especially if, like me, you’ll never get a chance to direct in real life.

One thought on “Play Director For A Minute

  1. I'll tell you how we DID stage Tempest. Our director first of all had multiple actors as Ariel – it was totally cool, there were 3 of us, and we would speak in unison and split the lines and it was very eerie and fun. Anyway…the Ariels started the 'Boswain!' lines, and the castaways stood at different points on the stage, holding onto bamboo poles to form a 'ship'. everyone rocked up and down, and screamed, and we had the lighting flash etc. The Ariels ran around creating panic. It was short and very effective.

    When Prospero later tells Miranda the story of his betrayal by his brother, the castaways, who were lying in various points of the stage, were 'revived' by an Ariel and then acted out what Prospero was saying.

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