Friday, August 12, 2016

The Tempest—Now with Puppets!

The Tempest. Dir. Conrad Bishop. Perf. Anthony Shaw Abate, Jessica Bauman, Conrad Bishop, Jan Freifeld, Benjamin Stowe. Produced by The Independent Eye in collaboration with Sonoma County Repertory Theater, Sebastopol, California.  Premiered Sept. 18, 2009, at Sonoma County Repertory Theater. DVD. The Independent Eye, 2009.

This is another post that I've owed an attentive reader for some time.

Back in 2009, a group of actors put on a production of The Tempest using puppets.

Don't think The Muppet Show. Think nearly life-size puppets without strings.

I found the show very compelling.  The image above is of the Propero puppet, but you can make out the performer carrying it. At strategic moments throughout the film, he puts the puppet aside to carry on acting on his own—but he's the only one (as far as I noticed) to do so.

I'm providing two scenes for you to get the feel of the production. Here's a good segment of Miranda and Prospero talking at the beginning; it segues into an exchange between Ariel and Prospero:

And here's the entirety of Act II, scene ii—where Caliban takes cover and Stephano and  Trinculo try to join him. It's played for humor, but the language is still given a great deal of priority:

The film version of the stage production is exceedingly enjoyable. It works for the Shakespeare scholar, but I think it would also work for introducing neophytes to the play.

Links: The Film at the Independent Eye.

Click below to purchase the film from the Independent Eye.

Purchase Link

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Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest