The Tempest is thought to be the last play Shakespeare wrote, and explores themes of power, control, ambition, mercy, revenge, and forgiveness.
The story: Prospera, the Duke of Milan, was the victim of a coup and stranded at sea 12 years ago with her daughter Miranda. Her sister, Antonia, who aspired to be the Duke herself, had made an alliance with the King of Naples and secured military force to remove Prospera in return for subjecting the dukedom of Milan to the rule of the kingdom of Naples.
Through Providence, Prospera and Miranda survived and have been living on a remote island. During this time, Prospera has gained great magical powers and enslaved the inhabitants there – spirits of various kinds and the son of a dead witch. One day, when she becomes aware that a ship carrying the King of Naples and Antonia is sailing by her island, she and the spirits raise a violent tempest, destroy the ship, and strand the betrayers and their followers around the island.
The King’s son, Ferdinand, wanders alone. When he and Miranda meet, it’s love at first sight. Prospera has other plans for Ferdinand, however, and quickly enslaves him. Meanwhile, the King’s party, including Antonia, searches the island for Ferdinand even though they believe him to most likely be drowned.
Wandering the island in a different location are the King’s butler and court jester. They meet Caliban, an embittered and tortured creature, now enslaved to Prospera. Though inebriated from a barrel of sack which washed ashore with them, they plot to kill Prospera, take Miranda hostage, free Caliban, and make the butler the King of the island.
Through her chief spirit, Ariel, Prospera moves the shipgoers around the island at her will, makes her betrayers see dreadful visions, and recalls to their minds the evil deed which was done to her all those years ago. As madness overtakes the group, Prospera reveals herself to them. Does she intend to take her revenge, or is she capable of mercy?
Running time: Approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes including one intermission.
Be aware: There are scenes of drunken frivolity between a group of characters who are the comic relief of the play, sequences involving dark shapeshifting spirits and mythical creatures which could be frightening for young audience members, depictions of slavery, and a few instances of comedic innuendo.
Appropriate for: Age 12+, although mature children who are familiar with live theatre may also enjoy it.
Children: Please note that children 5 years and under cannot be admitted to any performance.
Bottom line: Because all children and families are different, you are the only one who can judge whether this is appropriate for your family. Please consider the enjoyment of other patrons in determining whether this show is something you want to bring your kids to.
Questions? Email us.