We continued to explore Act I Scene I today, again rotating through everyone present to give everyone a chance to perform. We finished the first part of the scene with Prospero and Miranda, talking more about the special moment between them but deciding not to dwell on it. Then we moved on to Ariel’s entrance. We began by discussing what we already knew about the relationship between Prospero and Ariel. The participants volunteered that while there is love between them, it’s definitely a servant/master relationship, and Prospero can be kind of a bully. One asked if maybe Prospero abuses Ariel and Caliban because he was abused by the others in Naples. The others liked that idea, since they’ve seen it in their lives (i.e., “hurt people hurt people). Another said that maybe he is so controlling of everything and everyone on the island because things in Naples had gotten so out of his control. They all thought that was a good idea.
As we worked the scene, what we wound up focusing on was the shift between the beginning, when Ariel relates how he terrorized the ship and was in control, and the end, when Ariel asks for his liberty and completely gives up that feeling of power. We discussed the change that physically and emotionally needed to happen.
The second pair to work this scene approached it a bit differently than the first. The one playing Ariel began by constantly circling Prospero. She became still when asking for her liberty, and then the participant playing Prospero began circling her aggressively. While the constant circling proved problematic from a staging standpoint, I asked the group what they thought of what the movements communicated on a basic level, and they agreed that the change definitely tells of a shift in power. I suggested some different ways of moving to the women – not turning upstage when circling, but also using more of the stage and playing off of each other’s energy. They took these directions beautifully, and the scene really took off.
We are hoping to add more people soon, and then the women would like to choose their characters by the end of this month. As they gain a deeper understanding of these characters and see each other experimenting with them, I think group casting will come fairly easily. They have been very supportive of each other thus far.