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For our sixth week we challenge you to interpret and share:
We’ve invited actors Myra Lucretia Taylor and Patrick Page to share their interpretations of this famous passage.
Act Four, Scene One
WATCH: Check out the videos from our Public Theater family for inspiration on this page.
CREATE: Get inspired! Act, sing, rewrite, translate, paint, dance – whatever moves you!
CAPTURE: Record a video or snap a photo of your work.
SHARE: Post your interpretation and share it with us and challenge your friends! Tag @PublicTheaterNY on Twitter and Instagram or @publictheater on Facebook, and be sure to use the hashtag #BraveNewShakespeare.
BONUS POINTS: Tag a friend who you think is up for the challenge.
By William Shakespeare
Act Four, Scene One
PROSPERO, to Ferdinand
You do look, my son, in a moved sort,
As if you were dismayed. Be cheerful, sir.....
Read the full passage here.
Acto Cuatro, Escena Primera
Por William Shakespeare
Traduccion por Ángel-Luis Pujante
Te veo preocupado, hijo mío,
y como abatido. Recobra el ánimo...
From James Shapiro, Shakespeare Scholar in Residence at The Public Theater.
Lifted from its rich context in The Tempest, this justly famous speech — “Our revels now are ended” — has long been read as Shakespeare’s own reflections on retiring from the stage in this his final play. Lines from this speech were even chiseled on Shakespeare’s monument placed in the “Poets’ Corner” in Westminster Abbey in London in 1741. But we now know that The Tempest was far from Shakespeare’s last work, as he would go on to collaborate on Henry VIII, the now lost Cardenio, and The Two Noble Kinsmen. But the allusions here to “the great Globe itself,” the outdoor theater built in 1599 in which so many of Shakespeare’s plays had been staged, as well as to “all which it inherit” — the playgoers who have enjoyed his works in the ensuing centuries — make it difficult not to feel that for Shakespeare these lines were also personal.
Too easily lost when yanked out of context is the profound anxiety Prospero experiences as he speaks these lines, after cutting short a spectacular entertainment he had created for his daughter Miranda and the young prince she will marry, Ferdinand. Far from a supremely confident and self-satisfied patriarch (as he is too often staged), an agitated Prospero, who acknowledges his “infirmity” and age, is deeply unsettled here as he reflects upon his life and legacy—“vexed”—as he confronts multiple challenges: mortality, losing his daughter; the conspiracy of Caliban, Trinculo, and Stefano, who are plotting to kill him; the impending confrontation with his treasonous brother Antonio; and surrendering his authority.
Watch a lively, in-depth conversation about The Tempest, Prospero, Shakespeare, and our current moment, between Patrick Page and Michael Sexton, Director of the Public Shakespeare Initiative here.
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