Saw the movie of Des McAnuffs' production of The Tempest, starring Christopher Plummer, last night. I last night. I realized that when Miranda teaches Caliban the language she does so under Prospero's supervision: they are a two-person academic department, with Prospero as chair and Ariel as secretary. Alas, they would get terrible student evaluations from Caliban! I also felt as much as Prospero and Miranda despised Caliban they needed him for company, otherwise it would have just been a Robinson Crusoe scenario--there was a sociality in their tense relationship that this production brought out. This was the best production of the play I have ever seen in that they managed to embody the whole play rather than just making it a star turn for Prospero. Indeed one realizes how much Prospero is absent in the middle of the play, at first giving us a release from his at times overbearing authority, than once Caliban, Stephano, and Trinculo start capering about we realize we need a little Prospero. In addition, the Caliban-Stephano-Trinculo alliance was, in a quasi-Marxist sense, a proletarian alliance of the subordinated of two worlds against their masters---which inevitably ends in tears among misunderstanding and ethnic strife. also, this production eschewed the obvious New World applicability of the play for a firmly Mediterranean Tempest--in the filmed talkback afterwards, Plummer showed he was thoroughly aware of the Aeneid allusions in The Tempest, and Caliban (Dion Johnstone) looked half like a Tuareg tribesman (I guess perhaps now a militant of Azawad) venturing onto the coast, half like a Green Man from the Barsoom books. The feminine-androgynous, shimmering-blue Ariel (Julyana Soelistyo) also had a science-fictional feel. But the focus was as much on the Neapolitan/Milanese characters as o the island’s weird transplanted denizens, and really for the first time I had a full sense of their relationships, motivations, and why there are so many people in the play Gonzalo especially emerged as salient for his sagacity and principle.
Finally, no account of my life in the past tow days could be complete without the triumphant tale of my at last getting to eat at Nicoletta, the much-talked-about, super-chic pizzeria on the corner of Second and Tenth. As these pictures demonstrate it was more than worth the wait! It was delicious and utterly pleasurable, and once one got in there the atmosphere was quite informal and comfortable.