The Tempest and Workshop Performed by Russian State Institute of Performing Arts, Russia

On the afternoon of October 18th, the students from Russian State Institute of Performing Arts, Russia brought us the famous theatre production The Tempest in Proscenium Stage Theatre in Chang Ping campus of The Central Academy of Drama. With the whole team's brave reconstruction based on their insight of the original work, this version of The Tempest expressed the revenge and forgiveness of magician Prospero in a different point of view. The directing and acting of this work are all made by students in the 3rd year of Directing Department from Russian State Institute of Performing Arts, Russia.


In this version of The Tempest, the sound image of roles was strengthened. Each role has its own method of saying lines. The director purposely set the stage a bit "cursory", making the sound image rather the light or the stage design the most important in the expression of the main plots. The beginning of the performance was also switched from the scene of Gonzalo and others in the tempest to a dialogue between Miranda and her father, Prospero. When Prospero was telling the story before coming to the island, his tone was a reflection of the storm created by his magic. The character and situation of roles were also exaggerated but precisely expressed by the means of saying lines, leading the audience into the mood of roles with the role's voice in spite of themselves.


The performance is also creative in performing the only romantic relationship between Ferdinand and Miranda. There is a long distance between them and they never looked at each other in the face. Even when Ferdinand expressed his feeling to Miranda, they were still in their own emotion. Ferdinand was more like telling his worries rather than love while Prospero, who sat beside Miranda, was the only one excited. It seemed ridiculous, but also revealed the nature of the relation as a well-designed political union via marriage. Both Ferdinand and Miranda in this relation were not out of their own will. Ferdinand was in the terror of losing his father and the responsibility to a whole realm, and innocent Miranda was actually controlled by her father, Prospero, the plotter of the whole event, whose excited reaction reflected his joy with his plan coming true.


The intervention from the director as the voiceover is also special in the performance. The director sat at the edge of the stage as if it was a rehearsal rather than a performance from the beginning. With the plot develops, there was more and more intervention from the director, while the acting status of actors was not influenced. Compared to the director, Prospero was more like a conductor. As a driver of all the lines, he gathered everyone around him as a magnet. The director also mentioned in the post-show talk "The whole theatre was like a result of Prospero's madness and morbidity. We would say it was Prospero instead of me who directed this theatre." All the ridiculous scenes the audience saw were linked to the role of Prospero, whose inner magical world was actually put on the stage. Thus the intervention from the director emphasized the leading position of Prospero in this performance, as the director said afterwards: "What we did is a process of overturn and reconstruction, just as Prospero did as a magician. It is the same with the theatre."


In the afternoon of October 19th, the workshop was held in Thrust Stage Theatre in Chang Ping campus of The Central Academy of Drama, by Arsenii Bekhterev from Russian State Institute of Performing Arts, Russia, working at Bolshoi Drama Theatre in Saint Petersburg.


The training of the workshop includes a series of exercises on spontaneous inventions of a character: specifics of movement, voice, way of thinking and dislocation on the stage. Exercises aimed to develop quick reaction according to the artistic image that is wanted – through intense and focused physical actions.

The training directs students' attention to the composition of the parameters of the character – to cooperate with other actors and play with audience attention (using contrasts of acting). It also teaches them to save hat was found through the exercises by precisely naming the aims, actions, conflicts and events.


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