Thursday, September 16, 2010

Schizophrenic Caliban: Aaron Posner's Tempest

I want to mention this in class today: what happens if we see Shakespeare's Caliban in terms of class and social belonging, not necessarily colonial imperialism and race?

This was one innovation of Aaron Posner's production of The Tempest at the Folger Theatre (Washington, DC) in 2007.  More on this amazing production here, and a negative review here.  Above, Caliban (Todd Scofield) has a conversation with his imaginary friends, Trinculo and Stephano. (Photo by Carol Pratt.)
If you've ever walked around DC, you can imagine the effect of a highbrow Shakespeare production (in a theatre right on Capitol Hill, in Northeast DC) that turned a major character into a contemporary street person, schizophrenic and alcoholic.  He was completely recognizable, and some of his lines (e.g., the music he alone hears) made a new kind of sense.  His sock puppet versions of "Stephano" and "Trinculo" were mostly sad rather than funny.  It was really a Caliban for our time and place.

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