The Tempest is two days of magic compressed into 2 hours and 35 minutes which includes a 20-minute Q&A with the star Christopher Plummer and the director Des McAnuff (but not intermission).
Plummer was performing the play in 2010 at the summer Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada. Plummer is Prospera, the banished Duke of Milan, and Trish Lindstrom is Miranda, his daughter who has grown up outside of the court and lived the simple live on an island they’ve been stranded on for 12 years. With the help of a perky magical spirit Ariel (Julyana Soelistyo) whom he saved and has now temporarily indentured, Prospero plans a revenage against the enemies who usurped his dukedom and strove to kill him.
Although Plummer has been against the filming of his stage performances except for archival purposes, he was active in the editing of this presentation which was filmed over two days with ten cameras. It helps that Stratford has a thrust stage and that lends dimension and allows for more versatility in shooting footage. Pick up shots were added. In the initial scenes where the ship weathers a storm, cameras are used to great effect to simulate the swaying of the ship and the confusion of the situation.
Plummer has an Academy Award (this year for “Beginners” in which he played a widower who finally comes out as gay after his wife has died), two Emmys, two Tonys, a Golden Globe, a SAG Award and a BAFTA Award. He’s a master of all mediums and this outing is a treat.
The costuming and comedy are spot on. There is partial or suggested nudity so this production might not be appropriate for young children (you’re either going to appreciate that lack of bras or wish a few of the female actresses were wearing them).
The production doesn’t ignore the presence of people. We see shots of the audience and that helps to give the feeling of the give and take of theater. Of course, you have to expect that the stage actors play things a little larger than they would for a regular movie.
Rialto Cinemas on 27 June 2012 (Wednesday) and 9 July 2012 (Monday), 7 p.m.
For more information about encore performances, visit the official website.