The Tempest is considered to be William Shakespeare’s final play – and it was the first of the Bard’s that I saw onstage.
I saw it most recently at the World Premiere of a new production of the classic. With Teller (the “silent partner” of the magician duo Penn &Teller) as co-adapter/director, it was a reasonable assumption that this show would include plenty of magic tricks – as befitting Prospero, the man who conjured the title storm which sets the play in motion.
As expected, this production was magical, but not just because of the tricks. It highlights the play’s themes of forgiveness and reconciliation and even resurrection, when father is given back to son after each thought the other was dead.
In the play, Prospero is out for revenge and powerful enough to create a storm that shipwrecks a boat filled with the men who wronged him and tried to kill him. This production shows him levitating people, making others appear and disappear out of and into nowhere, and a table full of food suddenly appear.
But perhaps the greatest “trick” of all is when he is able to turn the other cheek and offer forgiveness instead of vengeance to all those who had hurt him, proving that “the rarer action is/In virtue than in vengeance.”