• An explosive act. Prospero seems at peace in the betrothal, and then instantly flies into outrage at the thought of premarital sex. Then he presents the celebratory masque, only to interrupt it. Then he prepares the Caliban meeting and sets mad dogs upon the clowns. At the end of the act, when he declares that all his enemies are in his power, we should not expect he’s going to exercise any sort of forgiveness
• The dogs attacking the trio: this goes beyond clowning. They’re more violently punisehd than the nobles, and this seems to stem from his special relation to Caliban. Here, they’re subjected to genuine torture, left in a quivering heap: think Guantanamo.
• “Our revels now are ended…” begins as a comforting speech, seeing the couple’s distress. But he seems to talk himself into a dark corner, a vision of emptiness and loss, and comes out of it more unsettled than ever.
• The motive for the scattering of the masque? Somehow connected with his relation to sex, to Miranda, to his dead wife, and to Caliban. Has to be discovered in rehearsal.
4:1—PROSPERO ATTAINS FULL POWER EVEN AS HE VEERS OUT OF CONTROL, AND BETROTHAL SEGUES TO TORTURE.
01- Lights. Center, formal grouping. Ferdinand is still chained. Prospero holds up key, presents it to Miranda, who unchains him. [Spirit (JF) undoes the chain.] She starts to embrace him, Prospero intervenes, moves into formal triangle, Prospero C, Miranda R, Ferdinand L.
>>>Prospero: If I have too austerely punish’d you,
>>>Your compensation makes amends; for I
>>>Have given you here a third of mine own life,
>>>Or that for which I live; all thy vexations
>>>Were but my trials of thy love, and thou
>>>Hast strongly stood the test:
02- here, afore Heaven,
>>>I ratify this my rich gift. O Ferdinand!
>>>Do not smile at me that I boast her of,
>>>For thou shalt find she will outstrip all praise,
>>>And make it halt behind her.
>>>Ferdinand: I do believe it.
>>>Prospero: Then, as my gift and thine own acquisition
>>>Worthily purchas’d, take my daughter:
03- Places their hands together. Then suddenly, he bursts out. Sharp shift from Miranda and Ferdinand, as if they are cast into new tableaux by the surge of his passion.
>>>If thou dost break her Virgin knot before
>>>All sanctimonious ceremonies may
>>>With full and holy rite be minister’d,
>>>No sweet aspersion shall the heavens let fall
>>>To make this contract grow; but barren hate,
>>>Sour-ey’d disdain and discord shall bestrew
>>>The union of your bed with weeds so loathly
>>>That you shall hate it both: therefore take heed,
>>>As Hymen’s Lamp shall light you.
They reach to one another, but afraid to touch, risking another explosion.
>>>Ferdinand: As I hope
>>>For quiet days, fair Issue and long life,
>>>With such love as ’tis now, the murkiest den,
>>>The most opportune place, the strong’st temptation
>>>Our worser Genius can, shall never melt
>>>Mine honour into lust.
Prospero beckons them back C, returning to original positions.
>>>Prospero: Fairly spoke:
>>>Sit then, and talk with her, she is thine own.
04- He passes hand in front of them, they are asleep, cheek to cheek, DC. Prospero to far R area, looks L to Ariel.
Ariel (AA) appears far L, above.
>>>Ariel: What would my potent master? here I am.
>>>Prospero: Thou and thy meaner fellows your last service
>>>Did worthily perform. Go bring the rabble,
>>>O’er whom I give thee power, here to this place:
>>>Incite them to quick motion; for I must
>>>Bestow upon the eyes of this young couple
>>>Some vanity of mine Art.
>>>Prospero: Ay, with a twink.
>>>Ariel: Before you can say, ‘Come,’ and ‘Go,’
>>>And breathe twice; and cry, ‘so, so,’
>>>Each one, tripping on his Toe,
>>>Will be here with mop and mow.
>>>Do you love me, Master? no?
Ariel disappears. Prospero back to C position. They wake instantly back to position, not knowing they were asleep.
>>>Prospero: Look, thou be true; do not give dalliance
>>>Too much the rein: the strongest oaths are straw
>>>To the fire i’ the blood.
>>>Ferdinand: I warrant you, Sir;
>>>The white-cold virgin Snow upon my heart
>>>Abates the ardour of my Liver.
Prospero X R to book. Ferdinand and Miranda focus on one another. Video: foliage appears, composite with moving hands.
>>>Now come, my Ariel: appear, and pertly.
>>>No tongue! all eyes! be silent.
Ferdinand & Miranda turn upstage to face screen, low. Music. Shadow appears on screen, with both frontal and profile silhouettes. Recorded voice, sometimes chorused or with unison voices on some words or phrases.
Far L, Prospero moves his hand as if directing the shadows; a sense that they’re emanating from him. Shadows (JF/AA). Rapid chant, throbbing rhythm, illustrative gesture:
05- >>>Iris: Ceres, most bounteous Lady, thy rich Leas
>>>Of Wheat, Rye, Barley, Vetches, Oats, and Peas;
>>>Thy banks with pioned and twilled brims,
>>>Which spongy April at thy hest betrims,
>>>To make cold Nymphs chaste crowns; and thy broom groves,
>>>Whose shadow the dismissed Bachelor loves,
>>>Being lass-lorn; thy pole-clipt vineyard;
>>>And thy Sea-marge, sterile and rocky-hard,
>>>Where thou thyself dost air: the Queen o’ the Sky,
>>>Whose watery Arch and messenger am I,
>>>Bids thee leave these; and with her sovereign grace,
>>>Here on this grass-plot, in this very place,
>>>To come and sport; her Peacocks fly amain:
>>>Approach, rich Ceres, her to entertain.
Enter Ceres as shadow.
>>>Ceres: Hail, many-colour’d Messenger, that ne’er
>>>Dost disobey the wife of Jupiter;
>>>Who with thy saffron wings upon my flowers
>>>Diffusest honey-drops, refreshing showers:
>>>And with each end of thy blue bow dost crown
>>>My bosky acres, and my unshrubb’d down,
>>>Rich scarf to my proud earth; why hath thy Queen
>>>Summon’d me hither, to this short-grass’d Green?
Prospero touches his portrait locket.
>>>Iris: A contract of true Love to celebrate,
>>>And some donation freely to estate
>>>On the bless’d Lovers.
>>>Ceres: Tell me, heavenly Bow,
>>>If Venus or her Son, as thou dost know,
>>>Do now attend the Queen? since they did plot
>>>The means that dusky Dis my daughter got,
>>>Her and her blind Boy’s scandal’d company
>>>I have forsworn.
>>>Iris: Of her society
>>>Be not afraid; I met her deity
>>>Cutting the clouds towards Paphos and her Son
>>>Dove-drawn with her. Here thought they to have done
>>>Some wanton charm upon this Man and Maid,
>>>Whose vows are, that no bed-rite shall be paid
>>>Till Hymen’s Torch be lighted; but in vain:
>>>Mars’s hot Minion is return’d again;
>>>Her waspish-headed son has broke his arrows,
>>>Swears he will shoot no more, but play with sparrows,
>>>And be a boy right out.
>>>Ceres: Highest Queen of State,
>>>Great Juno comes; I know her by her gait.
Iris disappears. Ferdinand turns front in amazement. Prospero answers from his far R position.
>>>Ferdinand: May I be bold to think these spirits?
>>>Prospero: Spirits, which by mine Art
>>>I have from their confines call’d to enact
>>>My present fancies.
>>>Ferdinand: Let me live here ever.
>>>Miranda: Sweet, now, silence:
>>>There’s something else to do.
>>>Prospero: Hush, and be mute,
>>>Or else our spell is marr’d.
Enter the shadow of Juno, a large figure with a crown of light. Video images flowering.
Video of hands (the Nymphs) caressing, celebrating, gradually becoming more sensual. Ceres moves around Juno.
>>>Juno: Honour, riches, marriage-blessing,
>>>Long continuance, and increasing,
>>>Hourly joys be still upon you!
>>>Juno sings her blessings on you.
>>>Ceres: Vines, with clust’ring bunches growing;
>>>Plants with goodly burden bowing;
>>>Scarcity and want shall shun you;
>>>Ceres’ blessing so is on you.
Ceres disappears. Juno turns about, and in turning is disrobed, a nude statue. She reaches to Prospero, who reaches as if to touch the shadow. She turns again, this time showing the silhouette of late pregnancy. Shadow of Caliban.
06- Prospero cries out. Music change. Prospero X UC, as if erasing the shadows from the screen. Shadows vanish. Ferdinand and Miranda in the confusion separate. He makes confused gestures, as if his mind’s a blank.
Masked Spirit (AA) appears, turns pages of the book, points, as if prompting.
>>>Prospero: I had forgot that foul conspiracy
>>>Of the beast Caliban, and his confederates
>>>Against my life: the minute of their plot
>>>Is almost come: Well done! avoid; no more!
>>>Ferdinand: This is strange: your father’s in some passion
>>>That works him strongly.
>>>Miranda: Never till this day
>>>Saw I him touch’d with anger, so distemper’d.
Still unsettled, indicating them, but self-involved:
07- >>>Prospero: You do look (my son) in a mov’d sort,
>>>As if you were dismay’d: be cheerful, Sir:
>>>Our Revels now are ended. These our actors,
>>>(As I foretold you) were all spirits and
>>>Are melted into Air, into thin Air:
>>>And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
>>>The Cloud-capp’d Towers, the gorgeous Palaces,
>>>The solemn Temples, the great Globe itself,
>>>Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
>>>And, like this insubstantial Pageant faded,
>>>Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
>>>As dreams are made on, and our little life
>>>Is rounded with a sleep. Sir, I am vex’d:
>>>Bear with my weakness; my old brain is troubled.
>>>If you be pleas’d, retire into my Cell
>>>And there repose: a turn or two I’ll walk,
>>>To still my beating mind.
>>>Both: We wish your peace.
They go off UR, eyes fixed on one another. Prospero X DL, calls to Ariel.
>>>Prospero: Come with a thought: Ariel, come!
08- Ariel (AA) pops up behind him, to his R.
>>>Ariel: Thy thoughts I cleave to. What’s thy pleasure?
>>>We must prepare to meet with Caliban.
>>>Ariel: Ay, my Commander.
>>>Prospero: Say again, where didst thou leave these varlets?
>>>Ariel: I told you, Sir, they were red-hot with drinking;
Disappears, pops up DL (JB).
>>>So full of valour that they smote the air
>>>For breathing in their faces; yet always bending
>>>Towards their project.
Disappears, pops up DR (AA).
>>> Then I beat my Tabor;
>>>At which, they prick’d their ears, lifted up their noses
>>>As they smelt music:
Disappears, pops up DL (JB).
>>> so I charm’d their ears
>>>That, Calf-like, they my lowing follow’d through
>>>Tooth’d briers, sharp furzes, pricking gorse and thorns:
Disappears, pops up DR (AA).
>>>At last I left them
>>>I’ the filthy-mantled pool beyond your Cell,
>>>There dancing up to the chins, that the foul Lake
>>>O’erstunk their feet.
Disappears, pops up behind Prospero again (JB).
>>>Prospero: This was well done, my bird.
>>>Thy shape invisible retain thou still:
>>>The trumpery in my house, go bring it hither,
>>>For bait to catch these thieves.
>>>Ariel: I go, I go.
Prospero sees something off L, backs UC. Caliban (AA) in from L to DRC, looking about him. Prospero down behind him, almost as if contemplating his own mortality.
>>>Prospero: A Devil, a born Devil, on whose nature
>>>Nurture can never stick; on whom my pains,
>>>Humanely taken, all, all lost, quite lost;
>>>And as with age his body uglier grows,
>>>So his mind cankers.
With great violence:
>>> I will plague them all,
>>>Even to roaring.
Prospero storms off UR.
09- Trinculo and Stephano on from L (Caliban DRC), carrying improvised weaponry, leaning on one another, barely able to stand.
>>>Caliban: Pray you, tread softly, that the blind Mole may not
>>>Hear a foot fall: we now are near his Cell.
>>>Stephano: Monster, your Fairy, which you say is a harmless Fairy, has done little better than played the Jack with us.
>>>Trinculo: Monster, I do smell all horse-piss; at which my nose is in great indignation.
>>>Stephano: So is mine.—Do you hear, Monster? If I should take a displeasure against you: Look you,—
>>>Trinculo: Thou wert but a lost Monster.
>>>Caliban: Good my Lord, give me thy favour still:
>>>Be patient, for the prize I’ll bring thee to
>>>Shall hoodwink this mischance: therefore speak softly;
>>>All’s hush’d as midnight yet.
>>>Trinculo: Ay, but to lose our bottles in the Pool,—
>>>Stephano: There is not only disgrace and dishonour in that, >>>Monster, but an infinite loss.
>>>Caliban: Prithee (my King) be quiet. Seest thou here,
>>>This is the mouth o’ the Cell: no noise, and enter.
>>>Do that good mischief, which may make this Island
>>>Thine own for ever, and I, thy Caliban,
>>>Stephano: Give me thy hand: I do begin to have bloody thoughts.
10- Stephano grasps Caliban’s hand. Trinculo staggers around to add his own hand to the clump. Then fists in air: moment of wilted heroic tableau.
11- Ariel (JB) raises a line of glitzy garments, attaches it L. Trinculo and Stephano stagger back and forth, grasping at them, putting on several.
>>>Trinculo: O King Stephano! O worthy Stephano! look, what a wardrobe here is for thee!
>>>Caliban: Let it alone, thou fool; it is but trash.
>>>Trinculo: O King Stephano!
>>>Stephano: Put off that gown (Trinculo): by this hand I’ll have that gown.
>>>Trinculo: Thy grace shall have it.
>>>Caliban: The dropsy drown this fool! Let’s along,
>>>And do the murder first: if he awake,
>>>From toe to crown he’ll fill our skins with pinches;
>>>Make us strange stuff.
>>>Stephano: Be you quiet, Monster.
>>>Trinculo: Monster, come, and away with the rest.
>>>Caliban: I will have none of’t: we shall lose our time,
>>>And all be turn’d to Barnacles, or to Apes
>>>With foreheads villainous low.
>>>Stephano: Monster, help to bear this away where my hogshead of wine is, or I’ll turn you out of my kingdom. Carry this.
>>>Trinculo: And this.
>>>Stephano: And this.
As they load him with garments, extending the bit, sounds of animals growling, louder. Belatedly they hear them.
12- Suddenly, clothes line falls, and Prospero and Ariel (JB) appear, monstrous Dog puppets on each hand, surrounding the trio. Trinculo, Stephano and Caliban charge from side to side, running into each other, beating each other, evolving into a three-part self-destruction machine, and gradually sinking into a trembling, spasmodic heap DC.
>>>Prospero: Hey, Mountain, hey!
>>>Ariel: Silver! there it goes, Silver!
>>>Prospero: Fury, Fury! there, Tyrant, there! hark, hark!
>>>Go, charge my Goblins that they grind their joints
>>>With dry Convulsions; shorten up their sinews
>>>With aged Cramps, and more pinch-spotted make them
>>>Than Leopard or Catamount.
>>>Ariel: Hark! they roar.
>>>Prospero: Let them be hunted soundly.
13- Dogs disappear. Prospero stands barefaced behind the trio, Ariel appears beside them, occasionally touches them, eliciting spasms of pain.
>>> At this hour
>>>Lie at my mercy all mine enemies:
>>>Shortly shall all my labours end, and thou
>>>Shalt have the air at freedom.
Prospero backs away, UC. Ariel pokes the heap once more, a spasm of pain. Then disappears. Fade on the trio in a heap, racked with spasms of torture.