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the tempest

winter 2021

instructor: Mark Worthington

Software: Photoshop, Procreate, Sketchup

based on a story by Shakespeare

02__bayou_shore.tiff

It is no secret that Shakespeare’s The Tempest is often read through a postcolonial lens. And indeed, Prospero possesses all the qualities of a traditional colonizer and oppressor: a manipulative white man who utilizes fear as his primary tactic, distorting and blurring the identities of those that are colonized. There is not much character development for both Ariel and Caliban, who are entrapped both internally and externally under Prospero’s dominion.  In particular, I was always fascinated that Ariel, who could be a potentially interesting and powerful character, was silenced and erased by Prospero and Shakespeare. 

 

Therefore, I would like to explore this perspective further by setting The Tempest in Louisiana of Colonial America in the 1730s and transforming Prospero into a French magician, Ariel into a fictional Choctaw spirit, and Caliban into a Haitian slave. Specifically, I would like to explore how Prosper colonises the Choctow spirit and the Haitian Vodou magic and reclaims them as his own. Other than characterization, my adaptation of Tempest will be a very faithful reproduction of the original. In honor of my long-time fascination of Ariel, my Tempest will be narrated by the fictional Choctaw spirit Koi. Personally, the question of why Ariel never argued and resisted for his freedom again in the text was perpetually intriguing. For that reason, I aim to introduce personal stakes for Koi in order to make her a more interesting narrator than Shakespeare’s Ariel could be. 

character study and research