(Bill Crokes's article appeared in the American Spectator, August 5.)
Montana Shakespeare in the Parks (MSIP) made its annual stop in Salmon, Idaho, last week with an outdoor production of The Tempest, complete with its small but ornate Elizabethan stage set. The weather was fair: one of our golden summer evenings with a whispering breeze through the cottonwoods and views of distant snow-streaked granite peaks. Such a pleasant contrast to the play's opening storminess. ("Down with the topmast! Yare! lower, lower! Bring her to try with maincourse…A plague upon this howling!") The Tempest was likely Shakespeare's last play. It's a bizarre story of exile with characters both human and fantastical interacting on an island, and was based on a shipwreck in Bermuda that the playwright heard about. Scholars also speculate that it's Shakespeare's great retrospective play, in which he craftily leaves hints in the text about his own life and work. And it contains such great lines as "We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep."