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Let’s Play: Sebastian and Francisco are tempted (The Tempest, A2S1, 5 players)

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There’s really only one scene where we get to know Sebastian and Antonio, the villains of The Tempest, and that’s Act 2 Scene 1, where they are tempted to murder the King of Naples and Gonzalo, so that’s the scene we’ll explore.

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The scene is quite long, with seven characters, but luckily it can be played by 5 players, though that means that one of the players will have to speak consecutive speeches in the scene, as  Ariel and Antonio. So let’s play the scene now. Links for each of the five players are provided below:

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Player Character(s)
1 Francisco (a small part)
2 Gonzalo
3 Ariel, Antonio

Note: Player 3 has consecutive speeches as different characters in this scene.

4 Alonso, Adrian
5 Sebastian

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Choose your player no; click on the characters for that link, and you’ll be taken to a script for those characters in A2S1. When all players have got to their script, play the scene.

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After you’ve played the scene did you notice the following:

  • Gonzalo starts the scene and seems to be the eternal optimist, though he’s really trying to cheer up Alonso, who is distraught at the loss of his son. He soon gets rather irritated with Sebastian and Antonio. Why?
  • Sebastian and Antonio show a rather unpleasant side of their character right away, by making rather poor jokes about Gonzalo from the start, and then Adrian.
  • Alonso only speaks  five words in the first hundred lines or so. How is he feeling as the others talk?
  • When Ariel enters, with solemn music, he seems to bring sleep with him, because nearly everyone falls asleep almost immediately. In Act 1 Scene 2, Miranda falls asleep just before Ariel enters. (see Let’s Play A1S2: Prospero tells Miranda their history). What role does sleep play in The Tempest, or with Ariel?
  • After only Sebastian and Antonio are left awake, they devise a plot to kill Alonso and Gonzalo, confirming their roles as villains.
  • At the end of the scene what do you think of the characters of Gonzalo, Alonso, Sebastian, and Antonio?

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Now you’ve thought about the characters a bit, play the scene again and see if you can deepen and enrich your playing of the scene.

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Let’s play!

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Richard Forsyth
‘The Director’
Players-Shakespeare.com

 

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