Tempest #13 – Prospero Summons Ariel – 1:2 Storyboard
Act One, Scene Two, B. Essential elements:
* Prospero has forced Miranda to sleep in order to summon Ariel. His knowledge and his power are in secret, withheld from her. A need for this power, and a shame in it..
* Power of Ariel, very difficult to hold in check. Again, the strain on Prospero, having already exhausted himself in the tempest.
* Extreme volatility of Prospero, ruthless in his power. When he threatens Ariel with torture, he means it. In this staging, to make that unmistakable, he actually starts to do it.
* The “otherness” of Ariel: his emotions don’t follow the rhythm we expect. He can shift from play to revolt to rage to terror to joy, all in an eyeblink. Totally in the moment.
* In a sense, he’s symbiotic with Prospero. Prospero achieves this power by accessing and manifesting a deep level of self. This makes his relinquishing it all the more difficult and all the more painful.
* Sycorax is always present in potential. Prospero could in fact wind up being possessed by this virulent dead creature.
1:2B – THE MAGICIAN, IN SECRET, SUMMONS HIS CAPTIVE SPIRIT TO CARRY FORTH HIS PLOT, BUT FACES A SLAVE REVOLT AND SUPPRESSES IT RUTHLESSLY.
01 – Miranda sleeps. Prospero moves to far R. Spirits bring up his cloak & he dons it. He takes staff, spins in place, calling out.
>>>Prospero: Come away, servant, come! I’m ready now.
>>>Approach, my Ariel; come!
Nothing happens. He gestures twice again, the last with another sign of his hand. Music. Lightning.
02 – Ariel appears one place and another all about the stage (3 near-identical puppets). Struggle by Prospero to see him and contain him.
>>>Ariel: All hail, great master! grave sir, hail! I come
>>>To answer thy best pleasure; be’t to fly,
>>>To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride
>>>On the curl’d clouds: to thy strong bidding task
>>>Ariel and all his quality.
03 – At last Ariel appears from directly behind Prospero, reaching to touch him. Prospero stops him by a magical grasp (not actually touching).
>>>Prospero: Hast thou, Spirit,
>>>Perform’d to point the Tempest that I bade thee?
Ariel struggles to escape, with powerful spasms, then suddenly surrenders.
>>>Ariel: To every Article.
He is motionless, then with spasms of sudden movement, disappearing and reappearing, Prospero containing him, then again losing grasp.
>>>I boarded the King’s ship; now on the Beak,
>>>Now in the Waist, the Deck, in every Cabin,
>>>I flam’d amazement:
Movement, then freeze. Echoes.
>>> sometime I’d divide
>>>And burn in many places; on the Topmast,
>>>The Yards, and Bowsprit, would I flame distinctly,
>>>Then meet, and join:
Movement, then freeze. Echoes.
>>> the fire and cracks
>>>Of sulphurous roaring the most mighty Neptune
>>>Seem to besiege and make his bold waves tremble,
>>>Yea, his dread Trident shake.
04 – Prospero grasps him magically, holds him.
>>>Prospero: My brave Spirit!
>>>Who was so firm, so constant, that this coil
>>>Would not infect his reason?
>>>Ariel: Not a soul
>>>But felt a Fever of the mad and play’d
>>>Some tricks of desperation.
Movement, then freeze. Ariel fierce. Echoes.
>>> All but Mariners
>>>Plunged in the foaming brine and quit the vessel,
>>>Then all a-fire with me:
Movement, then freeze. Ariel fierce, alternating with giggles and roars. Echoes.
>>> the king’s son, Ferdinand,
>>>With hair up-staring,–then like reeds, not hair,–
>>>Was the first man that leap’d; cried, ‘Hell is empty,
>>>And all the Devils are here.’
>>>Prospero: Why, that’s my spirit!
Sudden change in Prospero: twists hand to seize Ariel, in desperation.
>>>But are they, Ariel, safe?
>>>Ariel: Not a hair perish’d;
05 – Change in Ariel: Dances about, legato & fairylike, like sprinkling dew on roses, almost camp. Prospero continues dialogue in slow, focused tone.
>>>On their sustaining garments not a blemish,
>>>But fresher than before: and, as thou bad’st me,
>>>In troops I have dispers’d them ’bout the isle.
>>>The King’s son have I landed by himself;
>>>Whom I left cooling of the Air with sighs
>>>His arms in this sad knot.
>>>Prospero: Of the King’s ship,
>>>The Mariners, say how thou hast dispos’d,
>>>And all the rest o’ the Fleet.
>>>Ariel: Safely in harbour
>>>Is the King’s ship; in the deep Nook, where once
>>>Thou call’dst me up at midnight to fetch dew
>>>From the still-vex’d Bermudas; there she’s hid:
>>>The Mariners all under hatches stow’d
>>>I have left asleep: and for the rest o’ the Fleet
>>>Which I dispers’d, they all have met again,
>>>Bound sadly home for Naples,
Sudden, violently melodramatic gestures and snarl:
>>>Supposing that they saw the King’s ship wrack’d,
>>>And his great person perish.
06 – Prospero gestures to get him back under control. Both are frozen as he speaks, held in tension.
>>>Prospero: Ariel, thy charge
>>>Exactly is perform’d: but there’s more work:
>>>What is the time o’ th’ day?
>>>Ariel: Past the mid season.
>>>Prospero: The time ‘twixt six and now
>>>Must by us both be spent most preciously.
>>>Ariel: Is there more toil? Since thou dost give me pains,
>>>Let me remember thee what thou hast promis’d.
07 – Sharp spasm.
>>>Prospero: How now! moody?
>>>What is ‘t thou canst demand?
>>>Ariel: My Liberty.
>>>Prospero: Before the time be out?
>>>Ariel: I prithee
>>>Remember, I have done thee worthy service;
>>>Told thee no lies, made no mistakings, serv’d
>>>Without grudge or grumblings: thou didst promise
>>>To bate me a full year.
>>>Prospero: Dost thou forget
>>>From what a torment I did free thee?
>>>Prospero: Thou dost; and think’st it much to tread the Ooze
>>>Of the salt deep,
>>>To run upon the sharp wind of the North,
>>>To do me business in the veins o’ th’ earth
>>>When it is bak’d with frost.
>>>Ariel: I do not, Sir.
Prospero jerks wand one way and another, jerking Ariel back and forth.
>>>Prospero: Thou liest, malignant thing! Hast thou forgot
08 – Black shape rises with hands behind Ariel. Hands threaten him. Blurred image of Syracorax’ face appears behind, transforming. Ariel terrified, struggles against grasp of hands. Hands twist him to different shapes. Prospero rages, R of center.
>>>The foul Witch Sycorax, who with Age and Envy
>>>Was grown into a hoop? hast thou forgot her?
>>>Ariel: No, Sir.
>>>Prospero: Thou hast. Where was she born? speak; tell me.
>>>Ariel: Sir, in Argier.
>>>Prospero: O! was she so? I must,
>>>Once in a month, recount what thou hast been,
>>>Which thou forget’st.
Ariel in unison with Prospero:
>>>This damn’d Witch Sycorax,
>>>For mischiefs manifold and sorceries terrible
>>>To enter human hearing, from Argier,
>>>Thou know’st, was banish’d: Is not this true?
>>>Ariel: Ay, sir.
>>>Prospero: This blear-ey’d hag was hither brought with child
>>>And here was left by the Sailors. Thou, my slave,
>>>As thou report’st thyself, wast then her servant:
09 – Sycorax, masked, rises behind Ariel, grasps him. He shakes violently, tries to get away. Periodic shrieks.
>>>And, for thou wast a Spirit too delicate
>>>To act her earthy and abhorr’d commands,
>>>Refusing her grand hests, she did confine thee
>>>Into a cloven Pine; within which rift
>>>Imprison’d, thou didst painfully remain
>>>A dozen years; within which space she died
>>>And left thee there.
Sycorax disappears. Ariel is left bound and shrieking, in unison speech with Prospero:
>>>Then was this Island,–
>>>Save for the Son that she did litter here,
>>>A freckled whelp, hag-born,–not honour’d with
>>>A human shape.
>>>Ariel: Yes; Caliban her son.
10 – End of unison. Prospero very close to Ariel — still as if trapped and tortured.
>>>Prospero: Dull thing, I say so; he that Caliban,
>>>Whom now I keep in service. Thou best know’st
>>>What torment I did find thee in; thy groans
>>>Did make wolves howl and penetrate the breasts
>>>Of ever-angry Bears: it was a torment
>>>To lay upon the damn’d, which Sycorax
>>>Could not again undo; it was mine Art,
>>>When I arriv’d and heard thee, that made gape
>>>The Pine, and let thee out.
Prospero releases Ariel from the imagined torture. Ariel exhausted, grateful:
>>>Ariel: I thank thee, master.
>>>Prospero: If thou more murmur’st, I will rend an Oak
>>>And peg thee in his knotty entrails till
>>>Thou hast howl’d away twelve winters.
Strong pause, waiting for Ariel’s response. No movement. Total capitulation:
>>>Ariel: Pardon, master;
>>>I will be correspondent to command,
>>>And do my spriting gently.
>>>Prospero: Do so; and after two days
>>>I will discharge thee.
Ariel cries in delight, sharp movements about, as if nothing had happened.
>>>Ariel: That’s my noble Master!
>>>What shall I do? say what? what shall I do?
Prospero turns away from Ariel to command.
>>>Prospero: Go make thyself like a Nymph of the Sea: be subject
>>>To no sight but thine and mine; invisible
>>>To every eyeball else. Go, hence with diligence!
Ariel makes several spasmodic starts in different directions, then disappears.
11 – Hands remove cloak from Prospero; he comes to the sleeping Miranda.
>>>Awake, dear heart, awake! thou hast slept well;
Passes hand over her face; she wakes. Prospero turns and reveals Prospero Puppet.
>>>Miranda: The strangeness of your story put
>>>Heaviness in me.
12 – Prospero Puppet embraces Miranda.
Does that seem like an interesting direction to go? I welcome comments and wild ideas.
A second workshop — I’ll write about it next week. And welcome to Danny, our new student intern from Bennington College. He’ll be working with us into early February. And just completing the 32 puppets for Rash Acts, the last being a monumentally difficult lifesize creature who doubles as a volcano.
Happy to get word that we’ll be presenting a workshop at the national conference of Puppeteers of America this summer; we’ll focus on dialogue writing for puppet theatre. It’s simple: just be Shakespeare.
Next entry: Dec. 22