|Narrated By:||A Full Cast|
|Date:||07 November 2010|
In The Tempest, long considered one of Shakespeare's most lyrical plays, Prospero, a sorcerer, and his daughter, Miranda, have been stranded on an enchanted island for twelve years. When a shipwreck—caused by the eponymous tempest—brings enemies to the island, the stage is set for comedy, romance, and reconciliation. The Tempest embodies both seemingly timeless romance and the historically specific moment in which Europe began to explore and conquer the New World. Its poetic beauty, complexity of thought, range of characters—from the spirit Ariel and the monster Caliban to the beautiful Miranda and her prince Ferdinand—and exploration of difficult questions that still haunt us today make this play wonderfully compelling.
Now would I give a thousand furlongs of sea for an acre of barren ground, long heath, broom, furze, anything. The wills above be done, but I would fain die a dry death.—William Shakespeare, The Tempest, 1.1
Directed By: Yuri Rasovsky
Shakespeare was born and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. Some time between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. At age 49 around 1613, he appears to have retired to Stratford, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, which has stimulated considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs and whether the works attributed to him were written by others. These speculations are often criticized for failing to point out the fact that few records survive of most commoners of his period.
Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were primarily comedies and histories, which are regarded as some of the best work ever produced in these genres. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances and collaborated with other playwrights.
Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime. However, in 1623 John Heminges and Henry Condell, two friends and fellow actors of Shakespeare, published a more definitive text known as the First Folio, a posthumous collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's. It was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Shakespeare is hailed, presciently, as "not of an age, but for all time".
In the 20th and 21st centuries, his works have been repeatedly adapted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular and are constantly studied, performed, and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.