Lindsay Community Theater
Presenting the 12th Annual
Shakespeare in the Plaza
Thursday and Saturday Shows
Aug 10, 12, 17, and 19
Show begins at Dusk
(about 8:00 PM)
Sweet Brier Plaza Outdoor Stage
Donations gratefully accepted
The Biggest Little Theater in Central California
The magician, Prospero, rightful Duke of Milan, and his daughter, Miranda, have been
stranded for twelve years on an island after Prospero's jealous brother Antonio (aided by
Alonso, the King of Naples) deposed him and set him adrift with the 3-year-old Miranda.
Gonzalo, Alonso's counsellor, had secretly supplied their boat with some food, fresh water,
"rich garments, linens, stuffs and necessaries", and "volumes" (books) that Prospero
prizes. Possessing magic powers due to his great learning, Prospero is served by a spirit,
Ariel, whom Prospero had rescued from a tree in which he had been trapped by the cruel
witch, Sycorax, after he had refused to obey her. Prospero maintains Ariel's loyalty by
repeatedly promising to release the "airy spirit" from servitude. Sycorax had been exiled from
Algiers to the island for wreaking havoc with her magic, and had died before Prospero's arrival
and without releasing Ariel. Sycorax's son, Caliban, a deformed monster and the only
non-spiritual inhabitant before the arrival of Prospero, was initially adopted and raised by him.
He taught Prospero how to survive on the island, while Prospero and Miranda taught Caliban
religion and their own language. In slavery, Caliban has come to view Prospero as a usurper
and has grown to resent him and his daughter. Prospero and Miranda in turn view Caliban
with disappointment, contempt and disgust. Prospero only performs one act of magic himself
directly on stage: he disarms Ferdinand, causing his nerves to become "in their infancy again".
The rest of his magic is through controlling spirits (or mentioned as happening previously),
which is how magicians of the time were believed to operate.
Prospero, having divined that his brother Antonio is on a nearby ship, has raised a tempest
that causes the passengers to believe they are shipwrecked and marooned. Also on the ship
are Antonio's friend and fellow conspirator, King Alonso of Naples, Alonso's brother and son
(Sebastian and Ferdinand, respectively) and Alonso's "trusted counsellor", Gonzalo. All
these passengers are returning from the wedding of Alonso's daughter Claribel and the King
of Tunis. Prospero contrives to separate the shipwreck survivors into several groups by his
spells, and so Alonso and Ferdinand are separated, each believing the other to be dead.
Three plots then alternate through the play. In one, Caliban falls in with Stephano and
Trinculo, two drunkards, believing Stephano to be a "brave god" who "bears celestial liquor".
They attempt to raise a coup against Prospero, which ultimately fails. In another, Prospero
works to encourage a romantic relationship between Ferdinand and Miranda; the two fall
immediately in love, but Prospero worries that "too light winning [may] make the prize light",
and compels Ferdinand to become his servant, pretending that he regards him as a spy. In
the third subplot, Antonio and Sebastian conspire to kill Alonso and Gonzalo so that Sebastian
can become King. Ariel thwarts them, at Prospero's command. Ariel appears to the "three
men of sin" (Alonso, Antonio and Sebastian) as a harpy, reprimanding them for their
betrayal of Prospero. Prospero, who has witnessed this, leaves to visit Ferdinand and
Miranda. The three guilty nobles run off, distracted and in a frenzy, and Gonzalo and the
attendant lords chase after to prevent them from doing "what this ecstasy may now provoke
Prospero then explains that he tested Ferdinand, and betroths a willing Miranda to him. He
then asks Ariel to bring some other spirits and create a masque to entertain the young couple.
These spirits present a blessing by Iris, Ceres, and Juno, followed by dancing. Prospero
suddenly remembers the plot against his life, dismisses the spirits and Miranda and Ferdinand,
and sets a trap for Caliban, Trinculo, and Stephano. They are chased offstage by goblins in
the shape of hounds.
Prospero, all his enemies in his power, discovers that Ariel would pity them if he were
"human", and decides to forgive the people who tried to kill him. He tells Ariel to fetch the
nobles while he breaks his charms.
In the conclusion, all the main characters are brought together before Prospero, who forgives
Alonso, Antonio and Sebastian. Ariel is charged to prepare the proper sailing weather to guide
the King's ship back to the Royal fleet and then to Naples, where Ferdinand and Miranda will
be married. After discharging this task, Ariel will finally be free. Prospero pardons Caliban, who
is sent to prepare Prospero's cell, to which Alonso and his party are invited for a final night
before their departure. (It is, however, not made clear whether, after their departure, Caliban
will remain on the island or whether he will be taken to Naples.) Prospero indicates that he
intends to entertain them with the story of his life on the island. Prospero has resolved to break
and bury his magic staff, and "drown" his book of magic, and in his epilogue, shorn of his
magic powers, he invites the audience to set him free from the island with their applause.