Over the weekend a director asked for my opinion on his staging of an upcoming Tempest. Cool! If he’s listening he can jump in, but I’m not going to identify him without his permission because it’s for a competition and I’d hate to leak any surprises :).
I’m no director, as I’m sure we all know. I’m no actor at all. I just don’t have the visual imagination for it. I have to put myself more in the “Shakespeare as literature” group when it comes to that stuff. Doesn’t mean that I don’t have opinions on what makes a good story, though!
This director and I spoke mostly about how to open the play, and whether you can get away with moving the shipwreck scene (later Ariel will describe the scene anyway, so is that enough?) Could you act out Prospero’s story of how they came to arrive on the island, show Prospero as Duke, sitting in a library, surrounded by his politician brother (and his cronies) becoming angry that he’s not paying attention to him, and so on? Maybe a little dumb show right at the start?
There might well be good theatrical reasons *not* to do some of these things. Personally I prefer a big opening, something attention grabbing.
So, here’s the game. Whether you’re a theatre pro or not, director or not, pick a scene and tell us how you’d stage it. We don’t need to get into every last nuance of how you want the actors to *play* the scene (though you can give it a shot). I’m more interested in the off the wall stuff, like the dude who SETS THE TEMPEST IN NAZI GERMANY. It can be something you’ve done, if you’re a director, but it’s not as fun if it’s something you saw somebody else do. This is your chance to show *your* ideas, especially if, like me, you’ll never get a chance to direct in real life.