The first time Limelight tackled Shakespeare was in 2001. I ran a one-week workshop where we took The Tempest and cut it down into a faster, easier show for young actors to perform. I then turned it over to another director while I busied myself with getting The Hobbit ready for its debut.
The kids that were a part of that show always liked to laugh about how in the opening scene, during the “shipwreck,” they had to pretend to be working the ropes for the sails, shouting and pulling and grabbing at nothing. It was always told as part of the, “look how silly and low-budget our early shows were” conversations that would pop up from time to time.
Last Saturday I caught an open-air production of The Tempest in the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin. And during their version of the opening scene, they didn’t bother using actual “ropes” either. Just some guys yelling and a few simple set pieces to suggest a ship’s prow and the waves crashing over them.
It was very reassuring to see, actually. I’m over here to dig deeper into my theatrical knowledge, which has been an exciting and terrifying experience so far. I like knowing that even in a well-publicized production in Dublin, Ireland, they still have guys grasping at nothing. It reminds me that I might actually be able to do this thing.