From the first moment, the Stratford Festival’s 2010 production of The Tempest, starring Christopher Plummer, made me long even more ardently to attend that hallowed spot near Toronto.
Des McAnuff’s direction was outstanding. The stagecraft was incredible. From the opening scene, in which the nearly bare stage became a rolling ship (!), to the final moments, I was wowed by this production.
My first impression of Miranda was that Trish Lindstrom was an odd choice, and the costume and manner of Ariel (Julyana Soelistyo) took some getting used to. I also disliked some of the other costuming choices. But the acting overcame it all, and the first meeting of Trinculo, Stephano, and Caliban was hilarious–perfectly played.
I loved the stagecraft of the feather and the sword and the dugout canoe “floating” on the turntable stage. Ariel’s “You fools!” soliloquy was riveting, and the masque (always a difficult scene to stage and play, and thus often condensed or skipped entirely) blew me away.
Most importantly, I can’t say enough about Christopher Plummer’s pitch-perfect portrayal of Prospero. Wow. Every syllable intelligent, accessible, and feelingly delivered.
In short, if you’ve never seen The Tempest performed, see this one. If you’ve seen a dozen different versions of The Tempest, see this one.
I watched it on a DVD I borrowed from the public library. It is also available online via iTunes and other outlets.