Hag-Seed: The Tempest retold
Hogarth Shakespeare, $29.99 pb, 306 pp, 9781781090220
The Tempest is a play set on a ship. In the first scene, the ship is wrecked. ‘All lost ... all lost.’ The play is over. The play begins again. To one side of the stage, on an island a girl is watching. She is defined by watching: ‘O I have suffered with those that I saw suffer.’ The girl has been watching what we have been watching; she is a watcher on the stage, and she is the play’s new beginning. The play opens, this second time, with a kind of creation story. For the first time, her father, Prospero, tells Miranda how she came to be where she lives. It is an old story: a brother’s betrayal, a long journey at sea, a miraculous survival. This strange, subtle, unsettling scene plays out on stage the relationship between a storyteller and his listener, whose name means ‘wonder, admiration’. The story comes to life in her, and the drowned sailors crawl from the sea.