Teaching Shakespeare!

A Folger Education Blog

Shakespeare in Cinema: The Tempest

Right now director Julie Taymor is making more headlines for Spiderman: Turn off the Dark on Broadway – meanwhile her latest film: The Tempest is finally in theaters nationwide. Though, it seems, in very few theaters, so good luck seeing it on the big screen. Our nearest screen is about 30 minutes away in downtown Bethesda, MD – hopeully we will all get to see it before we have to wait for the DVD release!

Two videos from the actors’ perspectives circulating the internet catch my attention. In this first video, Helen Mirren (playing Prospera), Djimon Hounsou (Caliban) and Russell Brand (Trinculo) speak about being in this visually stunning film. Dame Mirren mentions that her first experience with Shakespeare: performing a scene with her class!

And here, Russell Brand delivers an improvised monologue (in the character of Trinculo) on Day 1 of rehearsal, in a very Shakespearean vein:

Finally, here is Julie Taymor giving an interview with Stephen Colbert about some of the choices she made for the film: including the decision to make Prospero a woman:

Many educators tell us that they use film as a teaching tool for Shakespeare, so if you’ve already had a chance to see this film – tell us what you think! As a Shakespeare enthusiast or with your Educator’s hat on: how can this film be used to teach The Tempest or examples of Shakespeare’s text? If you haven’t seen the film, do you plan to? Does anything grab your interest from above?

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