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The Tempest (1:00 pm)

Location and logistics:

We'll meet at the Green Lake Branch of Seattle Public Library at 7364 E Green Lake Dr N in the meeting room. (This event is not sponsored by the Seattle Public Library.)  See here for directions:

Metro buses 16, 48, 316 are close, and there is parking for library patrons.

We can bring food into the meeting room as long as we clean up afterwards.  

Bring a copy of the text if you have one, if not we usually have extras and can share.  Though it's not necessary to read the play before hand, it will help you follow (and understand your character) to at least be familiar with the plot.  

Synopsis: (spoilers!) 

Magician PROSPERO (572 lines), rightful Duke of Milan, and his daughter, MIRANDA (143 lines), have been stranded for twelve years on an island after Prospero's jealous brother ANTONIO (147), aided by the King of Naples ALONSO (109 lines),, deposed him and set him adrift with the then-3-year-old Miranda. GONZALO (161 lines), the King's counsellor, had secretly supplied their boat with plenty of food, water, clothes and the most-prized books from Prospero's library. Possessing magic powers due to his great learning, Prospero is reluctantly served by a spirit, ARIEL (191 lines), whom Prospero had rescued from a tree in which he had been trapped by the witch Sycorax. Prospero maintains Ariel's loyalty by repeatedly promising to release the "airy spirit" from servitude. Sycorax had been banished to the island, and had died before Prospero's arrival. Her son, CALIBAN (174 lines), a deformed monster and the only non-spiritual inhabitant before the arrival of Prospero, was initially adopted and raised by him. He taught Prospero how to survive on the island, while Prospero and Miranda taught Caliban religion and their own language. Following Caliban's attempted rape of Miranda, he had been compelled by Prospero to serve as the magician's slave. In slavery, Caliban has come to view Prospero as a usurper and has grown to resent him and his daughter. Prospero and Miranda in turn view Caliban with contempt and disgust.

The play opens as Prospero, having divined that his brother, Antonio, is on a ship passing close by the island, has raised a tempest which causes the ship to run aground. Also on the ship are Antonio's friend and fellow conspirator, King Alonso of Naples, Alonso's brother SEBASTIAN (120 lines) and son FERDINAND (139 lines), and Alonso's advisor, Gonzalo. All these passengers are returning from the wedding of Alonso's daughter Claribel with the King of Tunis. Prospero contrives to separate the shipwreck survivors into several groups by his spells, and so Alonso and Ferdinand are separated, each believing the other to be dead.

Three plots then alternate through the play. In one, Caliban falls in with STEPHANO (163 lines) and TRINCULO (105 lines), two drunkards, whom he believes have come from the moon. They attempt to raise a rebellion against Prospero, which ultimately fails. In another, Prospero works to establish a romantic relationship between Ferdinand and Miranda; the two fall immediately in love, but Prospero worries that "too light winning [may] make the prize light," and compels Ferdinand to become his servant, pretending that he regards him as a spy. In the third subplot, Antonio and Sebastian conspire to kill Alonso and Gonzalo so that Sebastian can become King. Ariel thwarts them, at Prospero's command. Ariel appears to the "three men of sin" (Alonso, Antonio and Sebastian) as a harpy, reprimanding them for their betrayal of Prospero. Prospero manipulates the course of his enemies' path through the island, drawing them closer and closer to him.

In the conclusion, all the main characters are brought together before Prospero, who forgives Alonso. He also forgives Antonio and Sebastian, but warns them against further betrayal. Ariel is charged to prepare the proper sailing weather to guide Alonso and his entourage (including Prospero and Miranda) back to the Royal fleet and then to Naples, where Ferdinand and Miranda will be married. After discharging this task, Ariel will finally be free. Prospero pardons Caliban, who is sent to prepare Prospero's cell, to which Alonso and his party are invited for a final night before their departure. (It is however not made clear whether, after their departure, Caliban will remain on the island or whether he will be taken to Naples). Prospero indicates that he intends to entertain them with the story of his life on the island. Prospero has resolved to break and bury his magic staff, and "drown" his book of magic, and in his epilogue, shorn of his magic powers, he invites the audience to set him free from the island with their applause.

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  • Roberta M.

    Well, you little Munchkins, I was in the hospital for four days. I had a simple carpel tunnel operation and about ten days later it got seriously infected and they had to keep me there with antibiotics gushing through me for four days. Now I'm home wearing a machine that is still gushing them into me. Anyhow, still can't go out, and will miss this Saturday. Toooo bad. I love the Tempest. I recently saw Helen Mirriam as Prospero. Yah, a woman playing Prospero, that's cool. Well.......she was just astonishing as was the entire production, directed by Julie Taymor(e) of Lion King fame. Enjoy. Miss me? Tell me how much.

    May 20, 2014

    • Hilary H.

      Roberta, So sorry you've had such a rough time and all my best for a speedy recovery!

      May 23, 2014

    • Barbara

      HONEY!!! I will consider it a personal favor if you will kindly rest, drink lots of water to flush out all the dead bugs, eat raw spinach, etc. Sending LOTS of extra-good thoughts. If I'd've been there, I would have missed you very, very desperately. As it is, I miss everyone desperately.....XOXOXOX

      May 24, 2014

  • Roberta M.

    Your lovely comments have made me feel so good. Thanks

    May 24, 2014

  • Kari

    Sorry, can't come today after all.
    My sinuses went nuts this morning and I don't know if it's an allergy or a cold so....

    May 24, 2014

  • Cassie P.

    My friends, I really want to be there, but I'm not feeling so well.. at the moment. Love this play..oh wel, hope we do it again soon?

    May 23, 2014

  • Caryl C

    I'm volunteering at the Seattle Pug Rescue Gala in Monroe tomorrow - maybe next time!

    May 23, 2014

  • Ruth A.

    Sad to miss this Saturday. I have to drive my husband to/from an appointment . . . but looking forward to catching up with you all on June 7th!

    May 22, 2014

  • Margaret

    I'm attending SIFF, so won't be able to join you this time. Enjoy The Tempest!

    May 20, 2014

  • James A. A.

    I'll miss reading Caliban. Saw it in the park a few years ago.

    May 18, 2014

  • Nancy E.

    I may be a little late, but all will be in good hands with Aidan.

    May 18, 2014

  • Alex

    Wish I could be there, but family obligations intercede.

    After the reminders in King Lear, I don't want to be an ungrateful child.

    1 · May 11, 2014

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