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The Tempest: Overview of Players-Shakespeare.com’s MFFEV5 edition

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The Tempest is a rather special play, and we hope that our MFFEV5 edition of it offers some very special features.

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In December 2017, we published our edition of The Tempest and we’ve written much more about the play than usual.  It is our ‘Play of the Month’ for January 2018, and we’ll publish links to the articles we’ve written – and other material – on our Facebook page throughout January.

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These links are also available on the index to the play (to the right of this post on laptops and tablets in landscape mode, and after this post on smart phones and most tablets in portrait mode).

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The Tempest is one of Shakespeare’s plays which is most open to different interpretations. We have tried to reflect that in our various articles about the play showing and exploring some of the different ways of thinking about different aspects of the play. For example, some have thought the play should be called Miranda’s Dream. You can see what we think of that at:  A1S2 Prospero tells Miranda their history.

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We have our own view of the play. For us, it is a play primarily about Prospero. In our edition he has 632 lines, more than three times more than the next two characters: Ariel (183 lines); and Caliban (182 lines).  Miranda has only 123 lines. In our reading, Prospero is a powerful man, perhaps past his prime, and beginning to prepare for death, who is struggling to come to terms with his betrayal by his brother, and hoping to find a suitable mate for his daughter, Miranda, so she can start a new life in marriage. Ariel he sets free at the end of the play, whereas Caliban, who Prospero acknowledges as his own, remains, we imagine, bound to Prospero.

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The play has a dream-like quality. Characters fall asleep at any opportunity, and much of the action has a dream-like quality: the tempest itself; Miranda’s sleep in A1S2;  the court falling asleep in A2S1; the disappearing banquet in  A3S3; the masque with the goddesses in A4S1; and the fairy hunt again in A4S1; etc. Perhaps A Midsummer Night’s dream and The Tempest are Shakespeare’s two plays structured around dreams.

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We explore some of these scenes in more detail in our edition of  The Tempest  You can:

Read our Introduction to the play
Play-read the whole play with a cast of 2 – 12 players, using Round Robin, cast lists in Parts and Cues and Highlight Text.
Explore with a few friends, some of the key scenes of the play using “Let’s Explore” and “Let’s Play”:

Let’s Explore:
A1S2: Prospero’s back story
Let’s play section:
A1S2: Prospero tells Miranda their history (2 players)
A2S1: Sebastian and Antonio are tempted (5 players)
A2S2: Caliban discovers new gods (3 players):
A3S2: Friends fall out (4 players):
A4S1: Magic and Masque at Miranda and Ferdinand’s nuptials (5 players)

We also provide additional material to help you explore and play the play:

An Overview of our Edition (this post)
Review (*****): The Globe’s production of The Tempest
Video Extract: The Globe’sTempest with Colin Morgan & Roger Allam
Playreading Report: Edinburgh, 21st June ’15

We plan to add another Playreading Report after we’ve run it on January 14th, and a review of Derek Jarman’s film of The Tempest, with Toyah Wilcox as Miranda.

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The index to the right of this post  (or after it if you’re using a smart phone to read this post) allows you to access all this content. Do try the index out. The focus, as always, is on enjoying and exploring the play, and the index is the starting place for that exploration.

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Let’s Play!!!

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Richard Forsyth
‘The Director’
Players-Shakespeare.com

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If you are using, or thinking of using, Players-Shakespeare.com’s edition of Shakespeare’s plays for production rehearsals or play-reading, why don’t you ask to become a member of our Support for Playreading & Productions Closed FB group?

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If you want to know how our Shakespeare edition is developing,  ‘like’ our Facebook page, and you’ll get more detailed updates on Facebook on what’s happening.
Also, if you run a play-reading, don’t forget – we want your feedback so please post at Player-Shakespeare.com’s Facebook page

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