Fri 4 Jun 2010
Elle Lucksted weighs in on the role of Miranda:
Shakespeare himself wrote, “Say as you think and speak it from your souls,” (King Henry VI). The Tempest’s Miranda, fifteen-year-old daughter of Prospero, exudes a complete innocence that perfectly exemplifies this philosophy. Miranda was “thrust from Milan” (Tempest, V:i) at the age of three, and has lived twelve years in seclusion with her father and the spirits that inhabit the island. The free-spiritedness of her youth left her without a social filter, and without a sense of shame. When she speaks and acts, it is with the liberty of a child.
An essential component of Miranda’s character is the fact that she has never seen another human being besides herself and her father…unless we’re counting Caliban—the island’s fish-monster—as a half Hers is a purity untouched by the cruelty of the mortal world. She has no ready exposure to its cruel elements: murder, deception, or throne usurpation (so she thinks, anyway).
As such, it might be easy to portray Miranda as a shell of a Disney princess—all fluff and no substance—but it would be a grievous character mistake to do so. Although she is young and ignorant of the world around her, her character is positively rich with dimension. In her first appearance to the audience, she is reacting to an event that triggers a chain of new experiences and emotions. She exhibits anger, sadness, horror, frustration, sorrow, confusion, anxiety, and relief in the space of one speech. She eventually grows to explore the realms of first love and a fascination with the “brave new world” (V:i) that unfolds before her.
The Tempest marks my fourth show with Pigeon Creek (after King Lear, Julius Caesar, and Pericles), and yet it is my first involving ensemble direction. While the common issue of receiving contradictory feedback exists because everyone’s opinion differs as to what works and what doesn’t, this “problem” actually serves as a sanction that generates a more substantial number of ideas and suggestions with which to experiment. I must add here that my “most-received note” involves remembering to play up Miranda’s youthful free spirit, and to tone down my own excessive stoicism…ha! It has been both challenging and enjoyable to work through a series of different possible reaction styles and tactics for each scene. In terms of this particular style, working alongside a group of such artistically gifted souls makes ensemble direction an absolute joy.
One element that I’ve always treasured about Pigeon Creek’s philosophy is that it makes our final product a shared effort. We create a show that is entirely our own—a product of collaborative creation—and it feels that much closer to our hearts because of it. We ourselves compose every outside element of the show. We are our own tech crew; props, costumes, and set design are our personal responsibilities. All songs and scripted noises within the show are created on stage or behind the curtain by our actors. Remember also to keep your eyes peeled during this production for tones of my choreography—a role that is new to me! I’ve loved the opportunity to create movement pieces for magical nymphs and fairies…a sort of visual interpretation of the creatures who represent“such stuff as dreams are made on.” (IV:i)
With just one week until our debut, we’ve certainly reached crunch-time! Rehearsals are flowing beautifully as we tighten our cue pick-ups and assemble musical pieces. Our masterpiece is looking much more whole, and we are excited to finally reveal our Shakespearean gem to the world! Thank you immensely for your temporary “indulgence” in reading. We so look forward to seeing you at our upcoming performances!