So today is, as far as you know, William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday (no one knows for sure, but it’s as good a day as any, and better than most, to pretend that it is). Which is cool. The odds are very much against anyone knowing I ever existed nearly 4 centuries from now (and if you exclude whatever future version of ancestry.com is in use then, the odds are even lower), but Shakespeare will be known for pretty much as long as people are known. If the last copy of any human book that ever exists is a version of one of Shakespeare’s plays, it would not surprise me (yes, assuming that I still exist to be surprised by the heat death of the universe), and if it is something else instead, more’s the pity.
Anyway, I loves me some Shakespeare. So how is it I have not heard about this? Co-directed by Teller (of Penn & Teller, and a genius of the first rank), with music by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan (geniuses of the rank that could look down on the first rank condescendingly and smile, were they not doing genius things that are much more important) and choreography by Pilobolus (geniuses who don’t actually have to say a word to let people know how fucking genius they are), a brand new staging of The Tempest.
The Tempest. Which I have seen in multiple versions, from the minimalist (six British actors and a sheet, remarkably well done and just a little bit pretentious) to fully-realized spectacles (my favorite, from the Stratford [Ontario, Canada] Shakespeare Festival), which I have performed as a one cuttlefish show (well, sorta–don’t ask), which contains my all-time favorite lines from Shakespeare (Caliban’s “Be not afeared” speech, which I have recited more times than I can recall)… yeah, that The Tempest.
So… I must find a way to see this version. I simply must. I have two kidneys; surely I can sell one…
Anyway… First, a bit of Teller introducing The Tempest (and some snippets):
Second, not nearly enough (but all I could find) about the Waits/Brennan music for The Tempest: