How has the magical island been represented and staged?
The Tempest is always set on an island. Although the environment of that island might change, there will always be magical elements to it. The text states that there are spirits on the island and it used to be ruled by a witch. Whilst on the island, Prospero has also spent his time studying magic.
You can take a look at the things to consider here and investigate the different ways we’ve staged the island at the RSC in this picture gallery.
As you look through the images and photographs from past productions of The Tempest, think about:
- What choices the designer has made for suggesting the world of the magical island: how it looks, feels and sounds. What evidence of nature is there? What kind of landscape is created? In the 2006 production, the island is arctic and barren, with Prospero's cell as a cabin. How does this compare to the other interpretations?
- Whether some productions are very different or if there are lots of similarities. What connections can you find?
- What clues you can find in the images that let you know what the environment is like. In the 1998 production, there is a huge shell which Caliban is hiding in. What does this feature remind us of, as an audience? Why is the nature of the island so vital to the story?
Where would you choose to set a production of The Tempest and what choices would you make to help show the magic of the island?