by William Shakespeare
Directed by Jon Tracy
From the Playbill :
I hate wizards.
Specifically, I hate one type of wizard; those guys with the big beards and the purple gown and hat with the silver moons and stars embroidered on them. Oh, and these wizards always have a magic wizard staff. Dumb.
No, not dumb. Boring. Really boring. Why? Because they always win. Why else? Because they know they will always win. They are wizards and you aren’t. Really, the battle is over before it ever began. We’re left with a bunch of fun magic spells to bide our time but really, that dude in purple is going to be just fine.
You protest. “What about Gandalf?” you say. “When I used to play Dungeons and Dragons my wizard character was totally killed by the Rancor Monster!” I reply in these ways: first, Gandalf didn’t do so bad for himself, second, the Rancor Monster was in Star Wars but I get what you’re saying and third, I’m obviously not talking about those wizards. I am instead really talking about one wizard. His name is Prospero.
“But –“ you continue to argue. I cut you off with this addition; “It’s my Director’s Notes, not yours… back off.”
Every time I see The Tempest and meet Prospero I check out. Prospero’s got a plan and really nothing stands in his way. Sure he grapples with all sorts of fears and guilt (and hey that’s great) but he never has to worry whether or not his revenge will work… because, say it with me… he’s a wizard. Dumb.
So I thought I’d change things up a bit. What if we stripped Mr. P of his magic and replaced it with science? What if our Prospero had the same mission but actually had no idea if his plans would work? All of this led to a lot of research.
Out sprang the stories of Tesla and da Vinci. Scientist, Illusionist, Inventor: this was the story I wanted to tell. From this idea, Prospero’s relationships to other character shifted and whole new perspectives began to emerge. The product of which is very much The Tempest you know, except that you won’t believe what happens next.
– Jon Tracy