Russell Brand Talks A Tempest

I have mixed feelings about Russell Brand. Sometimes he comes off as a fool and egoist. But the times I have heard him interviewed in any serious way (not TV talk show promo crapola), he impresses me.

He wrote two autobiographical books with silly titles - My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up and Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal - but the tales contained in them are quite engaging. 

I liked him in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but he was encased in a good film.

Shakespeare's The Tempest is my favorite of his plays. There are several movie versions of it, but none of them capture what I have seen done on the stage with it.

I have not seen Julie Taymor's new movie vision of it. The reviews I read didn't entice me. But Brand is in it, so I will have to give it at least a Netflix chance.

I came across this video that must have been shot during rehearsals or a table reading. Brand improvises like a madman and he's very good. (Alfred Molina is off to the side enjoying it all.) 

He seems 2010 and he seems 1610 as he takes his character, Trinculo (by no means a starring role in the play), through a little autobiographical rant. Trinculo is not only a character in the play, but a natural satellite of Uranus and a crater on Miranda, another natural satellite of Uranus. There must be at least one good Russell Brand joke in that information.

The Tempest might be the last play that Shakespeare wrote alone. Prospero's final speech seems to be a farewell to the stage. 

Set on a remote island, Prospero - exiled Duke of Milan and sorcerer- plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place. He conjures up a tempest to shipwreck his usurping brother Antonio and the complicit Alonso, King of Naples and sets the plot into motion.

It's a pretty original story for Shakespeare who loved to borrow older tales and adapt them to his needs. Though scholars will list inspirations like a report of the real-life shipwreck of the Sea Venture on the islands of Bermuda and Montaigne's essay "Of the Canibales" and a speech taken from Ovid's poem "Metamorphoses" as sources, I think it may be simpler than that. I think Shakespeare was hearing about and thinking about that brave new world that was out there and about to be found and settled.

Trailer for THE TEMPEST

   My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs, and Stand-Up           Booky Wook 2: This Time It's Personal