Wednesday, 24 July 2019

The Tempest

'Shakespeare in the Park' were performing The Tempest recently in Roberts Park, Saltaire. It's the Shakespeare play that I studied for A level English at school - but that's so many years ago, I confess I remember very little of it. These days I am too deaf to hear a non-amplified outdoor performance, but it was gratifying to see a sizeable audience enjoying the play. This on a day when there was also the Wimbledon men's singles final, the cricket World Cup final and the F1 British Grand Prix to enjoy on TV, if you so chose. I had an hour or so brisk walk (to justify then sitting inside on a lovely summer's day!) and I just passed by to watch a little of the play. Then I hurried home, a bit late to watch the tennis, which I'd recorded. I was still sitting there in the early evening, it was such a long, gladiatorial fight between Djokovic and Federer!

The story behind 'Shakespeare in the Park' is interesting. (See HERE) Steve Pearson, its founder, was inspired by a book he picked up in a New York bookshop - and this is now the fifth year the company has been performing free Shakespeare plays in the open air. They started in Roberts Park but have extended it to other parks in the district too.

It can be a little difficult to follow (if you can't hear!) as they wear modern dress, change the gender of the characters according to the actors they have recruited, and add modern twists. The drunk, Stephano, entered singing 'Baby Shark'! That's him with Caliban and Trinculo, above and below:

Below, there is Ariel, working his magic with the shipwrecked lords. 

I did actually love the play when I studied it. Though I can't recall the detailed plot, I can still quote some of the lines!

'Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made; Those are pearls that were his eyes; Nothing of him that doth fade But doth suffer a sea-change Into something rich and strange.'

'But this rough magic I here abjure;'

Even now, the words please me. I remain very glad that we had to study some Shakespeare at school. I feel it has added richness to my life experience. I don't think schools study it so much nowadays.


  1. How unfortunate to not be able to hear the words of the bard, but to still be subject to drunken renditions of Baby Shark. Life is not fair!

  2. We studied a different Shakespeare play every year in high school.

  3. We have a couple of Shakespeare in the Park productions here each summer as well.