Talking about scripts for the new Manuscript Critique and Coaching service at the Loft Literary Center.

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  • 1 month ago

Shakespeare Too!

While I’m admitting how much I geeked out for Dante, I may as well also admit that I loved Shakespeare so much that I formed a fan club in sixth grade and actually convinced other little girls to sit around and read folios aloud with me. Shakey and I have since had a couple of falling outs, but all in all, I can’t help but appreciate a master. 

So I was pretty excited when The Unit Collective asked me to write what I imagine happens ten minutes after THE TEMPEST. I wrote it Friday, rewrote it Saturday, and it was staged at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis last night by a great director and the best of actors. And here it is…

“The Brave New World” by Cristina Pippa

PROSPERO holds his staff up toward the sky.

PROSPERO

Now that my charms are all o’erthrown, I have

No need of this tempestuous lightning rod!

(He sets each end on two adjacent boulders and steps down on it. With a crack, it’s broken in half.)

PROSPERO (CONT’D)

And neither for my book—

I will no more give fire to the oak or shake the pine and cedar.

Farewell rough magic. I give o’er my airy charms and potent art.

(He slides his book of spells into the audience.)

PROSPERO (CONT’D)

Into the sea, my book is cast to be

Buried among the charmed and mystic fish.

(CALIBAN enters.)

PROSPERO (CONT’D)

What say you, Caliban?

CALIBAN

I’ve made amends by straightening your quarters, sir. I presume you’ll appreciate it, you’re staying here on the isle.

PROSPERO

Just one more night, you demi-devil. I leave for Naples in the morning. I only hope the civilized world will recognize me. I feel a savage myself after these twelve years in the wild.

CALIBAN

I thought you decided the island life suited you and chose to stay for good.

PROSPERO

Here? On a vacant witch’s isle, when a dukedom is owed me in Italy? No, knave, I will be sipping limoncello and eating a torta ricotta e pera by tomorrow night. I have only a few years left of this life, and I will spend them in the lap of luxury, looking on as Miranda brings forth a litter of Italian princes.

CALIBAN

You only say that to torture me, knowing I’ve loved her all these years.

PROSPERO

You’ve wanted her. Love is not a thing you know.

CALIBAN

I may not have known how to speak before you taught me your gentle tongue, but I can now articulate that her voice was like a kiss upon my ears every time I heard it. The very sight of her was worth all the riches in the world, and even my dreams of her face in the morning light were all I ever needed to go on living as your slave.

PROSPERO

You violated her, you thing of darkness. You made me lock you up.

CALIBAN

That’s not true. I only pursued her in the way your books taught me to.

PROSPERO

We won’t discuss this further. If I think of it again, you’ll have my hands around your stinking neck.

CALIBAN

Why shouldn’t I have made her my wife?

You treated me like a son when first we met,

And yet, you never once considered me worthy of Miranda,

Even when I was the only suitor she had for a dozen years and a thousand miles.

PROSPERO

You’re not worthy of a wild boar.

CALIBAN

It’s no matter now. The ship has sailed.

(Prospero nods. He looks out at the ocean and gasps.)

PROSPERO

You don’t mean— Is that the boatswain’s ship, gone for Naples without me? And with my daughter onboard?

CALIBAN

Aye, sir. That it is. And so she has.

PROSPERO

I don’t believe it. It can’t have been much more than a quarter hour since I released them all to make preparations to leave tomorrow.

CALIBAN

When you say “them all,” you mean to include your brother, Antonio, and King Alonso— the same traitors who usurped you in Milan and forced you to leave by boat with your small child? No nurse or mother to help. No reminder of your status as duke but a sack of books.

PROSPERO

What’s past is prologue.

CALIBAN

Seems like it may also be epilogue.

PROSPERO

How could they have gotten so far already?

CALIBAN

By your last wish. You asked Ariel to calm the seas and send auspicious winds for speedy sailing before you set him free.

PROSPERO

And you’re sure Miranda left with them?

CALIBAN

For the brave new world, with her backstabbing uncle and vapid husband-to-be.

PROSPERO

This is not what I meant when I told her, “Be not disturb’d with my infirmity.”

(Prospero turns to the audience.)

PROSPERO (CONT’D)

It’s your fault.

(He points at them.)

PROSPERO (CONT’D)

I’m confined to this bare island by you.

Did I not beg you—

But release me from my bands

With the help of your good hands.

This is what I meant, people—

(He claps, showing the audience how it’s done.)

PROSPERO (CONT’D)

Go on. As you from crimes would pardon’d be,

Let your indulgence set me free.

What are you saying? You haven’t committed any crimes?

(He waits, shrugs.)

PROSPERO (CONT’D)

I should never have given up my magic. That’s it. I can’t stay on this island without my daughter. And I will be Duke once more. I’m swimming out to the boat.

CALIBAN

You won’t make it, not with that wind.

PROSPERO

It will be at my back too, won’t it? I’d rather die in the sea than live another day on this wasteland. I don’t even have magic to entertain myself with!

(He strips off his cloak and runs through the audience— into the sea.

Caliban watches him go.)

CALIBAN

Wasteland?

(He climbs onto a rock and looks out, all around him.)

CALIBAN (CONT’D)

This island’s mine, its fresh springs and fertile land.

(Miranda enters. She picks up Prospero’s broken staff and holds it out like a sword at Caliban.)

MIRANDA

What have you done with my father?

CALIBAN

Nothing, I promise. Though he’s finally done with me.

MIRANDA

What do you mean?

CALIBAN

You should praise me for washing my head of any thoughts of murderous revenge exacted against my tormentor. He enslaved me, imprisoned me, made me suffer horrible pains from his dark arts, but I never touched him. And I won’t touch you. Unless you want me to.

MIRANDA

You tricked me. When the boatswain made ready to set sail, you promised to bring my father aboard.

CALIBAN

By the time I reached the magician, the ship had vanished from our shore. What was the hurry?

MIRANDA

I don’t know. I can’t say. Something about the wind.

CALIBAN

Or a plan to leave the dukedom intact and not return it to your family. I’ve never been to the mainland, but I know those clowns Trinculo and Stephano thought it was worth taking.

MIRANDA

Oh, what have I done? I let my beloved sail off without me.

CALIBAN

He could have stayed here with you.

MIRANDA

I told him not to.

CALIBAN

He could have refused. I wouldn’t have left if I were him.

MIRANDA

You don’t know him. I’m not convinced I did either. He was the first young gentleman I ever saw, and I fell at his feet. In my defense, he did call me his dearest love.

CALIBAN

And “admired Miranda.” As if you didn’t know what your own name meant.

MIRANDA

Perhaps I wasn’t ready to go to Naples. All I remember of the mainland is a blur of sounds and smells, layers of petticoats, a fuss over my father, and then slipping off into the night. What would the court think of a specimen like myself? I’m no more a lady than that starling, collecting bits of hay for her nest.

CALIBAN

Then it’s all for the best. My island is your home, and though I am no longer your bondsman, ask me what you will.

(A moment.)

MIRANDA

Where is my father?

CALIBAN

In the sea, my lady, swimming toward that boat full of traitors.

MIRANDA

Why didn’t you tell me?

CALIBAN

You asked me what I’d done with him, not where he’d gone.

MIRANDA

I can only hope he has some ounce of magic left to see him safely there.

CALIBAN

It’s possible. I saw him throw his book of spells into that same sea.

(She shakes her head, fretting, then stops.)

MIRANDA

He thought I was on the ship.

(Caliban nods.)

CALIBAN

He also wanted his dukedom back.

MIRANDA

Even knowing what he lost and how he lost it, I find I still believe mankind is beauteous and full of goodly creatures. I must go with them.

(She slips out of her dress and runs off through the audience.

Caliban watches her go.)

CALIBAN

This island’s mine.

(Lights out. End of Play.)

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  • #shakespeare #the tempest #playwriting
  • 6 months ago
  • 1

mister-smalls:

If you ever feel bad about your own writing, just remember that one of the world’s most well-known works of classic literature is self-insert fanfiction where the author hangs out with his favorite poet and is guided on his journey of discovery by a Manic Pixie Dream Girl version of a woman he met twice.

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Amazing. I’m the nerd who selected The Inferno for a high school English project and gladly memorized cantos in Italian in college. Now I’m seeing it in a whole new light.

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  • 6 months ago
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  • #nanowrimo
  • 10 months ago
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  • 11 months ago
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  • 11 months ago
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  • #am writing
  • 11 months ago
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Reblog if you’ll be part of Nanowrimo 2013.

Can’t resist the siren song of high word counts. Anxious to start something entirely new and to finish a rewrite of last November’s novel first.

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  • 1 year ago
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