In Julie Taymor's version of 'The Tempest,' the main character is now a woman named Prospera. Going back to the 16th or 17th century, women practicing the magical arts of alchemy were often convicted of witchcraft. In Taymor's version, Prospera is usurped by her brother and sent off with her four-year daughter on a ship. She ends up on an island; it's a tabula rasa: no society, so the mother figure becomes a father figure to Miranda. This leads to the power struggle and balance between Caliban and Prospera; a struggle not about brawn, but about intellect. Written by
The metal-thread piping on the outfits of Antonio and several others are actually zippers. This is clear in the close-ups for the spell circle scene where a zipper on his sleeve is open and the slider is visible as Prospera talks to him. The zipper sliders on the top of the outfit that Prospera wears after this scene are still attached (they look like points, or ends of laces). See more »
I am not a fan of male characters in Shakespeare being played by women, although it is only fair when you remember that when first written, all parts were played by men. However, I thought Helen Mirren did a brilliant and believable piece of work. At least the text had been adapted to reinforce the fact that she was female and we weren't expected to believe that she was Prospero and not Prospera. I thoroughly enjoyed this screen adaptation and although scenes that I looked forward to were cut out e.g., the Goddesses at the feast, the CGI was very clever. I thought that it was a mistake to make the casting of Caliban an African man, although he was disguised with scales and what looked like vertiligo. The purists see this play as about man's fear of anything different,(the other) and this plays into the post colonial criticisms by making the man black. Although Ben Wishaw did a sterling job as Ariel, it was a bit disconcerting to see his thin body running around naked. Especially at the beginning when he had to lie about with his leg discretely crossed in case he revealed anything he shouldn't. However, having acted in this play and seen several versions this was one of the best.
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