We have been very busy here with rehearsals for The Tempest – even the weather has joined in!
Today we hear from actor Millija Laszkiewicz who plays Ariel:
“Thank you for auditioning. I’d love you to play one of our Ariels.” Plural?
From the moment of receiving this email, my level of intrigue about this whole production steadily increased. Eight people playing the different personalities of one character is an approach that I hadn’t come across in my English Literature classes, but one that, as the first rehearsals came and went, proved itself to be hugely effective.
Ariel is a non-human, ethereal being, who is under the command of Prospero who once freed her from the clutches of a witch, and who is torn between her devotion to her (does Ariel have a gender?) master, and her desire to be set free, although it is not certain that Ariel truly knows what freedom really means. These contrasting emotions give a complicated, but hugely interesting depth to the character, and allow those of us portraying her to test our levels of emotional fickleness, whilst remaining in control of our magical powers.
One of Ariel’s great assets, although slightly tricky to show onstage, is also her ability to become invisible. This gives us as actors the flexibility of being able to be onstage throughout the whole performance, working our magic, and allowing Prospero to work vicariously through us.
(Did Shakespeare intend for this multi-dimensional character with multiple personalities and motives? Nobody knows. And that’s the beauty of the room he has given us for interpretation!)