The Tempest is a highly comic adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic written in modern verse to help young folks get a feel for the structure and flow of poetic dialogue. This adaptation follows closely to the Bard’s characters and story, while adding a good dose of humor to the political plots of the royals, a bit of clumsy innocence to the romance of Ferdinand and Miranda, and a kinder, gentler Prospero, the moody wizard with a heart of gold who only wishes to give his daughter a better life. Of course, this epic fairy tale would not be complete without Ariel, the fairy seeking freedom, and Caliban, the creature who longs to be human. So before your bright students begin to climb the heights of iambic pentameter in some of the greatest plays ever written, take them on a comic whirlwind to a remote island where the one-liners rain aplenty and the audience thunders with laughter, as this version of ‘The Tempest’ is guaranteed to entertain kids of all ages!
Terence Patrick Hughes writes plays for all ages. His children’s plays include adaptations for middle and high school of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest, while his shorter plays for grades K-4 offer a variety of adaptations from world mythology. His grown-up plays include LINES , Fake Plastic Love, A Harmony of Both, and Recess at Our Lady of the Bleeding Heart, Mind, and Spirit – Once Reformed. Other plays include Tea & Misery, Benched, Finding the Rooster, and Farewell Evenbrook. The New York Times noted that his work “…explores heavy subject matter with humorous dialogue and strong characters”. His plays have been developed and produced with the Lark, Horse Trade, Seven Collective, 13th St. Rep, Eden Prairie, Ovenbird, Playwrights Roundtable, and Boomerang theatres. Born in Lawrence, Mass., Hughes, his wife, and two children live in Woodstock, NY.
Excerpt from the play:
CAST OF CHARACTERS
In the darkness, Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Tempest’ F Minor Op 18 plays until a cloaked figure appears and moves to center stage, raising his hands up slightly as the music increases until music cuts entirely as the figure shouts.
Revenge! Power!! Love!! Salvation!!!
Slight pause until lights up slightly, PROSPERO lowers his hood.
I extend apologies for those exclamations; when I’m conjuring spirits I sometimes lose my patience. Prospero is my name and upon further acquaintance you will see my game is magic, although my strength is fading. Yet in my final hours of wizardry, I will gain revenge on those who made an outcast of me and in doing so will deliver a husband to my precious daughter. So be prepared for an amazing journey, for our tale is not only one of sorcery but also an innocent love story and if that were not enough to cover the price of admission, we add a good dose of politics to guarantee division. So, Yes! I present to you a tale of power, and revenge, and one of love put to the test but before we begin, I beg you to take shelter for now…I give you…the tempest!!!!
With a wave of his cloak, PROSPERO disappears into a clamorous storm, full of lightning and banshee-like wails of rain and wind.
ACT I, SCENE I
Lights up on the deck of a ship at sea in the midst of the storm. CAPTAIN stands holding tight to the helm as he rocks back and forth with the boat. Enter FIRST MATE and SECOND MATE who unsteadily make their way to the CAPTAIN.
The storm is growing stronger!
We won’t stay afloat much longer!
Captain! Captain! Is the ship close to land?
Too close I fear to the rocks not the sand!
I’m not afraid of rocks and waves! I scoff at the god’s mocking rage! Hear me Neptune! I laugh at you! Ha-Ha-Ha! Ha-ha….
An enormous wave knocks SECOND MATE from the deck into the ocean.
SECOND MATE exits.
Tell me straight is the ship going down? Because I never learned how to swim!
Well it’s safe to say that your first lesson will be held in the ocean!
What will I do? Isn’t there something to hold that will float around here?
Why don’t you grab one of the politicians on board? They’re all full of hot air!
Enter ALONSO, ADRIAN, ANTONIO, SEBASTIAN, FERDINAND, and GONZALO, all very unsteady as the ship is wracked by the storm.
See here! As your king, I demand you to deliver the ship to calmer seas!
And dear sire as your Captain I beg you to leave the sailing to me!
How dare you defy a royal command! You’ll spend your life in prison!
If I don’t defy nature’s command, the king will be sleeping with the fishes!
So go back to your cabins and pray we find port or you’ll wind up with dolphins and sharks in your court!
Let’s leave these dimwits to commandeer the vessel. The storm is getting stronger now.
The party exits except for ALONSO and FERDINAND
Look there, father! The ship can’t steer because a sail is caught in the bow! Be ready to turn about mariners and chart this boat to calmer waters!
Ferdinand, no! It’s too dangerous.
So would be the end of all of us!
FERDINAND runs offstage.
Your son is brave, my king!
A prince in every measure!
I would soon abdicate everything to hold on to that treasure.
Get below, my king! The storm is worsening!
ALONSO reluctantly exits.
He’s freed the sail! We’re turning about!
Right into a tidal wave! Oh, Captain! Look out!
CAPTAIN and FIRST MATE cringe in fear as lights down to the sound of a massive wave crashing into the ship and the shouts of the crew and passengers being enveloped by the storm, which slowly begins to recede, leaving only the gentler sound of easy waves on a shore, sea gulls, etc.
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