lareinenoire: (Elizabeth)
[personal profile] lareinenoire
Day #21: An overrated play

I'm probably going to end up burning in Shakespeare Hell for this, but The Tempest really doesn't do anything for me. I can, to an extent, appreciate it -- the language and the imagery are positively gorgeous -- but I don't love it, and I doubt I ever will.

And it's not even the dodgy colonialist issues bothering me on the same visceral level that the gender issues in Taming of the Shrew bother me, although I suspect that would probably be a more understandable reason than '...meh, it just doesn't grab me.' But the latter phrase does more or less encapsulate my problem with The Tempest. I like individual moments in the play, and Prospero's speeches in the second half are magnificently crafted. But, as [ profile] fuunsaiki remarked, quoting Rupert Goold:

I'm afraid I rather agreed with him as I, too, had always found the lack of narrative energy, the absence of threat to Prospero and the general Robinson Crusoe atmosphere pretty dull in performance myself.

I was in a student production in undergrad that did make me like the play more than I had beforehand (I played Sebastian, if anybody's curious). The fact that it was a fully genderswitched production also brought out some interesting tensions, but overall I agree with Goold that there's really no sense of urgency to the play. Antonio and Sebastian just sort of bumble around, and although you can infuse characters like Ariel and Caliban with a great deal of dangerous energy, it's never quite supported by a text that has them under Prospero's control.

It is entirely possible that I might appreciate The Tempest more as I get older and spend more time teaching Shakespeare. But right now, it just doesn't capture me the way many of his other plays do.

Day #1: Your favourite play - Othello and Richard III
Day #2: Your favourite character - Lady Elizabeth Grey in 3 Henry VI and Richard III
Day #3: Your favourite hero - Othello
Day #4: Your favourite heroine - Juliet from Romeo and Juliet and Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing
Day #5: Your favorite villain - Richard of Gloucester
Day #6: Your favourite villainess female villain - Joan la Pucelle
Day #7: Your favourite clown - Feste from Twelfth Night
Day #8: Your favourite comedy - Much Ado About Nothing
Day #9: Your favourite tragedy - King Lear
Day #10: Your favourite history - The Henry VI trilogy
Day #11: Your least favourite play - The Taming of the Shrew
Day #12: Your favourite scene - selections from Richard III, Othello, Much Ado, and 3 Henry VI
Day #13: Your favourite romantic scene - As You Like It, Act IV, Scene I
Day #14: Your favourite fight scene - 1 Henry IV and 3 Henry VI
Day #15: The first play you read - Romeo and Juliet
Day #16: Your first play you saw - Macbeth
Day #17: Your favourite speech - Romeo and Juliet and 3 Henry VI
Day #18: Your favourite dialogue - Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet
Day #19: Your favourite movie version of a play - Richard III (1995)
Day #20: Your favourite movie adaptation of a play
Day #21: An overrated play
Day #22: An underrated play
Day #23: A role you've never played but would love to play
Day #24: An actor or actress you would love to see in a particular role
Day #25: Sooner or later, everyone has to choose: Hal or Falstaff?
Day #26: Your favourite couple
Day #27: Your favourite couplet
Day #28: Your favourite joke
Day #29: Your favourite sonnet
Day #30: Your favourite single line
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