Shakespeare’s The Tempest is a powerful narrative of redemption and mercy. It is the story of Prospero, the magician banished to a desert island who forsakes revenge in the name of forgiveness. In our society, technology is our magic, and the roots of our industrial-technological complex lie in the imaginings of the imperialist 19th Century.
The Tempest – Steampunked! explored the contemporary theme of the unnerving ubiquity of technology. It exposed the trap that our love affair with technology and control can create, by setting the classic play in the context of a Jules Verne-esque world, filled with whimsical but eerily threatening machinery.
As Prospero makes the journey towards forgiveness and self-worth, he realises the futility of power and control, and the power of redemption. Zeppelin captains battling thunderstorms, a salvage yard hoarder Caliban, a Tesla-esque Prospero manipulating artificial lightning, and a virtual cyborg Ariel make The Tempest – Steampunked! a feast for the eyes and ears, and a new vision of Shakespeare’s masterpiece.
The Tempest ran from the 29th August – 8 September at Sidetrack Theatre, Marrickville as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival. The film of the production is now available to view on Vimeo and The Puzzle website.