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The Tempest - Shakespeare (Stratford Collection)
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2010
This 1982 production of The Tempest comes from Ontario's Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

John Hirsch's production is traditional in some respects and somewhat untraditional in others. In many productions, Prospero is played from the beginning as if he's already forgiven his enemies. Not here. At first Len Cariou's Prospero seems more concerned with vengeance than forgiveness. He is a figure alternately majestic and tormented, noble and petty, obsessed with the wrongs that have been done to him and, with the spectre of death looming, haunted by all the time he's lost and how little time he has left.

This Prospero is a flawed man and therefore he is someone in whom we can see ourselves, someone filled with conflicting impulses, so that when he finally chooses forgiveness, it is deeply moving.

Adding to the richness of the production is the relationship between Prospero and Ariel (the wonderful Ian Deakin), more emotional than in any other production I've seen.

Then there's Miles Potter's marvelously physical, pitiable, confused, defiant Caliban; John Jarvis's endearing Trinculo, who is much abused by Nicholas Pennell's especially sadistic Stephano; Jim Mezon's tender Ferdinand; Sharry Flett's gutsy Miranda, very much her father's daughter; and Richard Curnock's sorrowful Alonso. There are also fine supporting performances from the rest of the cast, though (let's face it) these are the best roles.

As with many Stratford productions, the production is scenically simple, but in one of the more traditional aspects of the productions, Desmond Heeley's costumes stunningly realize the "masque" aspects of the play. Stanley Silverman's music is most effective, even more so on a second viewing.

On the debit side, some of the staging is a little awkward and a couple of offbeat directorial choices don't pay off all that well.

Overall, this is an exceptional production of "The Tempest." We are lucky that it was preserved. I'm sorry that it seems to no longer be commercially available. I hope that it does again become available as it deserves a wider audience, as do some of the other Stratford productions that were televised in the 1980s and have been intermittently available on video.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
As usual from this source the performance is first rate. Once or twice the slapstick elements are overdone - to the audiences' evident enjoyment - but every other aspect of the direction is fine. Of the four versions that I own this one is my favourite and certainly has the noblest and most satisfying Prospero.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2012
This is essential viewing for the purist. Everything is included even the goddesses in the wedding scene- something that is usually cut from the script. You will be pleased if you buy this, it is essential theatre. Real storytelling !
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2011
I bought this so my students could watch the play after reading it and get some ideas how it might look on stage. The costumes are very good in this production, and the acting is excellent. There is a lot of lead in material on the disc. My students were disappointed that an older actress played Miranda, but they all agreed it was very well done. The staging is first rate and really helped them understand what they had read.
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on February 28, 2013
This is stage performance of The Tempest performed in 1982 at Stratford, Canada. The play is well done, though Sharry Flett playing the part of Miranda seems to be a little to old for the part, which in the play written by Shakespeare, was around sixteen years old. The setting of play is limited by size of the stage. Caliban was not as odd looking as in other versions of The Tempest I have viewed, but they were movie versions, so they could spend more time on Caliban's costume and makeup. Over all the play was well performed.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2012
This DVD from the CBC delivers up Shakespeare's The Tempest,in all its glory.Considered Shakey's last work,this stands as one of my own personal favourites.It was filmed at the illustrious Stratford Festival during an actual performance,but of course rehearsed and played a little more towards us,the viewing audience,outside the theatre.It stars wonderful Canadian actor Len Cariou as Prospero,the former King of Milan,along with a stellar supporting cast.Production values,set designing and direction are wonderful.Of course,as is common in a stage production at Stratford and elsewhere,the sets are kept minimalistic,getting the audience to use their imaginations.This is much the same as it was in Shakey's time also.Finally,the acting is top notch throughout,by everyone involved,as befits a production from Stratford.
The plot involves Prospero as the dethroned King of Milan.He was washed ashore with his daughter,many years before.He has learned sorcery from his precious books and now controls a sprite,a demon of sorts(the offspring of a witch that used to live there) and some elemental spirits.When a ship coincidentally passes by carrying another king,his son,the crew,and his wicked brother who was the one responsible for dethroning him in the first place,he stirs up a storm,the titled Tempest.The ship spills its passengers onto the island and Prospero befuddles their minds and spirits and orders his sprite to help carry it out.Time there has turned Propsero sour and he definitely has revenge on his mind.
The group is split into three different cells,if you will;the king and his close entourage,which includes Prospero's diabolical brother,two servants who briefly "command" Prospero's own demon and lastly the King's son.The King's son is the first one Prospero brings near his "home" and he and Propsero's daughter instantly fall in love.After a long tortuous time under his spell,Prospero finally releases the King and his party from his iron grip,his heart having been greatly softened by his sprite's admonitions.Also the two servants who would be kings,also get released.There is a tearful and heartfelt reunion between king and son,Prospero forgives his brother,who hands back his royal ring so Prospero may regain his throne again,and the sprite,who has obeyed Prospero all this time,finally gets his freedom.
Technically speaking the DVD has been transferred from the original master video tapes,so graininess and other related tape degradation is evident throughout.However considering the date and technology,it isn't too bad a picture.
All in all a highly recommended 1982 Stratford Theatre version of Shakey's The Tempest.Like its author,this production is timeless.4 1/2 stars.
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on May 14, 2015
Hard to hear the words and not the best representation of the play.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2012
We viewed this after reading The Tempest. The movie is well done and faithful to the play. This is a worthwhile purchase.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2015
When I play this full screen, there are dots on the side of the screen that are distracting. But if you use the DVD player's zoom or the TV's zoom, you can find a size which does not display the dots.
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