Sunday 13 June 2010

Rain Doesn't Stop Play

To an outdoor production of "The Tempest" by the Festival Players at Newton House, Llandeilo. A real downpour lends unbrechtian verisimilitude to the storm called up by Prospero to ship-wreck his enemies but equally on cue there is sunshine to reflect the magic island when the tempest abates (thank heavens as water has penetrated my cagoule and is gradually soaking my Levis - this is not the place for black tie). This is a popular play but nobody can agree quite what it's about. It's often interpreted as a final statement by Shakespeare as he retired from full-time work: on this reading Shakespeare is Prospero whose magic (which plays with people's fortunes) equates to writing plays. But that is I think just fancy born of the frustration of experts who can actually find virtually nothing definitive about the author's personality in the historical record or in his work. This production (see this link for lots of other venues in England and Wales) is excellent and does justice to what the play is really about - the triumph of good and compassion over cruelty, greed, low cunning, and megalomania, with layers of insight into human behaviour explored through the magical powers of Prospero and all framed in Shakespeare's very best poetry (better than the sonnets because so vivid and musical). Anyway, "Flout 'em and scout 'em And scout 'em and flout 'em! Thought is free" seems like a good mission statement for Bill's Blog.