If your last encounter with Shakespeare was in a stuffy high school classroom, then I urge you to go and see one of his many plays live. The words come alive, the performances removing you from any possible confusion of ‘who’s who?’ or ‘what is going on?’ A good actor will convince you that Shakespeare can be understood and accepted by a modern-day audience and that his stories stand the test of time, still unendingly relevant in the 21st century.
None of the Bard’s works is more apt to be staged in Glasgow right now than his last, The Tempest. Staged in the city’s Tron Theatre during the massive COP26 summit (a deliberate choice of scheduling by director Andy Arnold). With its stripped back production, a minimalist set and costumes made from recycled materials, along with the play text itself discussing themes such as man made destruction of nature, colonialism, and gender – it couldn’t be more pertinent.
The production’s all-female identifying cast subverts the original text in one swoop. With only one female character, Miranda, the casting for The Tempest is traditionally quite male-heavy. Not only does the cast give a powerful performance, but the fact that all characters are played by women gives the story a fresh perspective, one which opens up discussions of the roles played by women in colonial society.
Some stand out moments of the show (apart from the stellar acting performances) are often what’s going on in the background of scenes; the movement heavy production makes sure that there is never a stillness – making for a highly engaging, fascinating watch.
The Tempest runs at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow from 29th of October till 13th of November.
Book tickets: tron.co.uk
Photo credits: Tiu Makkonen