The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Adapted and Directed by Kate Stafford
Designed by Hazel Albarn
Choreography by Shyne Phiri
At Dynamix Amphitheatre at 8pm on Saturday 28th October, Tickets can be bought from Northern Stage Box Office here
A gripping comedy of magic, love and redemption. The sorcerer Prospero and his teenage daughter Miranda are exiled on a strange magical island. When Prospero raises a storm to destroy his enemies, revenge – and escape from the island – seems to be within his reach at last.
Bilimankhwe has brought actors, dancers and musicians from Malawi to work with British actors, musicians and visual artists. Together they have created a powerful, passionate and magical show, full of humour and music.
This pared-down, intense, urban production of Shakespeare’s last play features the stunning contemporary African dance choreography of Shyne Phiri.
Live music and original songs are by renowned Malawian recording artist Ben Mankhamba. Soundtrack and projections sampling traditional Malawianmusic have been created by Bristol-based musician and film-maker Frederick Rich.
It is powerful, passionate, and of course magical. By bringing together artists from Africa and Europe, the company uses the best from both continents to both entertain and move the audience.
The soundtrack blends traditional Malawi with electronic beats; using Malawian instruments such as the mbira (thumb piano) and mazimba (wooden xylophone), world instruments such a didgeridoo and jews harp and modern guitar the musicians also play live to create a rich layered sound giving Prospero’s island it’s magic. The music will be accompanied by projected animations and atmospheric lighting.
The play is about patriarchy and the end of colonialism. At the start of the play we see Ariel (played by Joshua Bhima and Robert Magasa) creating a storm at the instruction of Prospero (Christopher Brand). By using his magic to take the island from the witch Sycorax, set Ariel free and steal Caliban’s birthright, Prospero has sets off the chain of events which leads to the action of the play. His personal journey eventually leads to him to renounce his magic, hand back ownership of the island to its original inhabitants and understand that his daughter must be free to choose her own future.
The play is beautifully designed by Hazel Albarn using natural materials reflecting the ancient Malawian Nyau traditions; together with the contemporary projections and other-worldly music the effect is of a place outside time, where anything can (and sometimes does) happen.
The original island inhabitants, Caliban (played by Stanley Mambo) and Ariel, speak in a mixture of their native tongue and English – as is common in many countries which have been colonised by the British.
Ariel is sometimes one, sometimes splits into two – the use of two performers working in physical harmony allows for even more ‘now-you-see-him-now-you-don’t’ trickery. The rest of the multi-racial cast
are all British and speak with their native English accents. The play is about patriarchy, colonialism and power.