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2 0 2 4  -  T H E   T E M P E S T

Wednesday 24th July - Saturday 27th July

7.30 p.m. (and a 2.30 p.m. Saturday matinee) 

The Tempest

Act by Act

Act I

Close to a Mediterranean island, a storm overcomes a ship that carries King Alonso of Naples, his son Ferdinand, and his brother Sebastian. They were on their way home home from Tunis to Italy when the storm hit and demolished their ship. Shipwrecked with them are the courtier, Gonzalo, and the Duke of Milan, Antonio.

From the island, Prospera, the former ruler of Milan, watches the storm and shipwreck with her daughter, Miranda. Miranda fears for the ship's crew, but Prospera assures her that everything is fine. She decides to open up about her past, telling her how 12 years previously, her brother Antonio had deposed her in a coup.

With the aid of Gonzalo, Prospera had escaped in a boat with the infant Miranda and her books of magic. They travelled to the island, made it their home, and enslaved the only native islander, Caliban. The only other inhabitants of the island are the spirits including Ariel, whom Prospera had rescued from imprisonment in a tree. Since Antonio was on the boat that is now shipwrecked, Prospera hopes finally to rectify her past.

As Miranda sleeps, Prospera discusses his role in the shipwreck with Ariel. They plot about what to do with the men now that they are on the shore.

The courtiers from the ship are cast ashore unharmed. But the King is near despair, believing that Ferdinand, his son, drowned. Ferdinand has actually arrived safely on a different part of the island where he meets Miranda and they instantly fall in love. Prospera, fearing for her daughter, captures Ferdinand and forces him to carry wood.  In the meantime, Ariel seeks their freedom. Prospera promises that she will liberate Ariel from servitude following the completion of just a few more tasks.

 

Act II

Ariel uses music to lead the courtiers astray, while Sebastian and Antonio plot to kill the King while he is asleep. Their attempt is foiled by Ariel. All the people from the ship become ever more confused as they wander around. In another part of the island, the timid court fool, Trinculo, has come ashore and discovered Caliban. Trinculo hides beside Caliban from an approaching storm, and the ship's butler, Stephano finds them.   

 

Act III-IV

Stephano, Caliban, and Trinculo, at Caliban's suggestion, intend to kill Prospera and make Stephano lord of the island. They get very drunk before setting off to the cell to kill Prospera.  Ariel, who saw the whole thing in their invisible state, reports this wicked plot to their master. Meanwhile, Prospera has relented and gives her blessing for Ferdinand and Miranda's marriage. Then she entertains them with a masque of goddesses and dancing reapers before she remembers Caliban's plots. 

Prospera and Ariel then set a trap for the three plotters. Stephano and Trinculo fall for the plot and become distracted by gaudy clothes hung out for them. After they touch the clothing, they are chased away by spirits disguised as dogs.

 

Act V

Ariel brings all the courtiers to the cell where Prospera, renouncing her magic, reveals herself. Instead of enacting her revenge, she forgives them and accepts the return of her rule of Milan. Ferdinand and Miranda are betrothed. Sailors come to announce that the ship is safe. Prospera fulfils her promise and frees Ariel while Caliban and the drunken servants are rebuked. The play ends as all go to celebrate their reunions, and Prospera asks the audience to release her from the play. 

 

O, brave new world, that has such people in't!
(Miranda, Act 5 Scene 1)

The whole play in a paragraph....

Prospera uses magic to conjure a storm and torment the survivors of a shipwreck, including the King of Naples and Prospera’s treacherous brother, Antonio. Prospera’s slave, Caliban, plots to rid himself of his master, but is thwarted by Prospera’s spirit-servant Ariel. The King’s young son Ferdinand, thought to be dead, falls in love with Prospera’s daughter Miranda. Their celebrations are cut short when Prospera confronts his brother and reveals his identity as the usurped Duke of Milan. The families are reunited and all conflict is resolved. Prospera grants Ariel their freedom and prepares to leave the island.

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