I watched this 2010 version of The Tempest and must say I found it rather enthralling. Usually when trying my best to follow some of Shakespeare’s plays I get lost translating and interpreting the language, but I got it! There were some noteable names amongst the cast, Helen Mirren, Tom Conti, Alan Cummings, Alfred Molina and the surprising addition of Russel Brand as Trinculo. His gangly movement and presentation of his words added to the mirth and silliness of his character brilliantly.
In this, Julie Taymor’s version of ‘The Tempest,’ the main character is now a woman named Prospera. Going back to the 16th or 17th century, women practicing the magical arts of alchemy were often convicted of witchcraft. Thus Prospera is usurped by her brother and sent off with her four-year daughter on a ship. She ends up on an island; it’s a tabula rasa: no society, so the mother figure becomes a father figure to Miranda.
By chance, or witchcraft the brother and his associates are ship wrecked upon the island many years later. Some slight engineering of circumstances sees the young heir fall in love with Miranda, decreeing to marry her. The reunion of the banished sister and usurping brother leads to the power struggle and balance between Caliban and Prospera; a struggle not about brawn, but about intellect.