A Reflection on the Tempest
Staging, Lighting and Production
The “Tempest” production used in this analysis is the June 2014 performance by the Savage Rose Theatre company. The staging of is set up to reflect a literal depiction of the events in the play. It begins from the actual storm at the beginning of the play, with props arranged in such a manner as to suggest a ship. The sound is manipulated to simulate particular scenes, as in the first scene with the vessel in stormy weather. The actors themselves add to the notion of being thrown about in the water by their use of the stage. It involves shaky motion and loud speech, as though the storm is too loud to speak normally. Throughout the play, the lighting dims, flickers, or brightens to create the atmosphere needed. An excellent example is the dramatization of Ariel’s plight with the witch Sycorax.
Tone and Mood
Since the tempest is written as a tragicomedy, its tone is filled with contrasts of comedy and sadness. Additionally, there are some elements of anger, such as Prospero’s chastising of Ariel’s request for freedom. However, the general mood of the performance is happiness. There are plenty of laughs from the audience, and the sad situations portrayed are not as effectual as the comedic parts. These two elements are created by the presence of the actors, who use intonation, speech delivery, and exaggerated movement as their primary tools.
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Easiest parts to understand
I found that the easiest parts of the play to understand involved conversations held in private. These were the most audible of all the scenes. This fact made the content much easier to understand and relate to, which also made any exaggeration or comedic responses all the more enjoyable. Take, for example, Ariel’s performance of luring Ferdinand into Prospero’s lair. His voice is clear and audible, and the scene highlights Ferdinand’s wonder and confusion. Of course, this also has a lot to do with the stage presence, as the two stand in the foreground, commanding attention. In essence, the absence of loud background sounds combined with a focus on fewer characters made the play resonate with the audience better (Bennett et al., 2013).
Role of theatre in contemporary culture
This play suggests an enduring effect of theatre in contemporary culture. Its role has been entertainment since inception (King et al., 2016). . However, each new performance provides a new perspective on old truths. This is true of even this performance, which holds to a more realistic presentation of how this story may have occurred. The performance of this play is full of expression and emotion, which implies freedom to both the actors and the audience. By extension, we can assert that the role of theatre in contemporary culture is to provide an avenue for self-expression. In this journey, one may note that self-expression often combines with self-discovery in the theatre, as different characters will resonate with different elements of one’s personality. Savage Rose theatre’s rendition reveals some knowledge of past cultures that are reflected in the play as well. Ferdinand wears what appears to be Caroline era clothing, which places the play somewhere between 1603 and 1714. Although the play itself is open to interpretation, certain elements such as the clothing and mannerisms displayed reveal some knowledge of history. This study of history through theatre is important, even if only done to accurately portray a character, as it influences subsequent thought and behavior. As such, theatre is an integral part of contemporary culture since it provides a multifaceted approach to both individual and community growth (Zazzali et al.,(2013).
The tempest imitates life while entertaining the audience. Like many other plays before it, it serves as a reflection of human nature in its excesses and modesty. At the same time, it provides a mode of expression and an escape from reality, through which many are drawn. It has remained a cultural staple for several years due to this effect. More likely than not, the Tempest will endure, because no performance in theatre is like another.