Friday, October 14, 2011

Not A Review - The Tempest

The Dallas Theater Center's production of The Tempest is interesting.

As we've come to expect, performances were excellent, the Shakespearean language fluid and natural.

The set by Beowulf Borrit is wonderful - imaginative, ethereal, very beautiful, and beautifully used.  It's as if a giant cupped a portion of Prospero's enchanted isle in his hands and deposited it on stage... with crumby edges of dirt and roots left exposed.  The top surface (white carpet like mown grass) encourages the director and actors to roll, slide, crawl, fling themselves down, and make one of the most dramatic entrances ever.

Oddly though, costumes, also by Boritt, were... prosaic.  The black and white theme was strong - the stranded men-in-black become whiter with island dust and mud is a nice conceit - but overall...  Disappointing.  Particularly disappointing were costumes for other-worldy characters like Caliban or  Arial.  The monster?!  I'm restraining myself from smart-mouthed cracks about that monster: suffice to say it'd have better suited Chuck E. Cheese than Prospero's Isle.  (After thinking about it, I'd suggest some creature more crab-like or scorpion-like, in the dusty island colors than this velveteen puppy.)  Even Miranda's costumes were unromantic and, worse, unflattering.  How could the designer of this phantasmagorical set create mundane costumes?  Or... why?

But the set!  In those moments when the lighting design turned to the saturated colors that, for me, are magic onstage, this world was enchanted.
Image borrowed from The designcurve

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