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In the summer of 2001, I had the opportunity to attend the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, Utah. And I wasn't excited about it.
The year before I'd married my wife Kathleen, and her family took a yearly trip to see these plays. I was new to the family, so I kept my negativity to myself.
Why wasn't I excited? Mostly because I didn't like Shakespeare (or at least I thought I didn't). My only real exposure to Shakespeare had been in high school with two plays: ROMEO & JULIET and HAMLET. I kind of liked HAMLET, but I loathed ROMEO & JULIET. Fifteen-year-old Adam could not understand the main characters. I thought they were idiots. You kill yourself over someone you just met? That's not love, that's stupidity.
The other piece was the way I'd been taught Shakespeare. Two of my high school English teachers made every book and play we studied about sex. To be fair, they were hippies (like legitimate, 1960s hippies), and they talked a lot about sex and drugs. A lot. And when they oversimplified Shakespeare (and other classics), I checked out.
Fast forward back to 2001, and I wasn't excited. I imagined a week filled with tight-wearing, Shakespeare-quoting folks talking in terrible British accents. But that's not what I got.
It all changed with THE TEMPEST. I was captured by the performances, by the story. Shakespeare was amazing. I also saw JULIUS CAESAR that year. Since then, some of my favorite stories are Shakespeare plays. In no particular order, I also love OTHELLO, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, KING LEAR, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, HAMLET, AS YOU LIKE IT, MACBETH and more. I not only enjoy Shakespeare, but he's now one of my favorite story tellers, up there with C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Sanderson, Rothfuss, L'Engle, Card, Whedon and Spielberg.
Sitting there in 2001, I started imagining THE TEMPEST as science fiction the minute it ended. I imagined Caliban, Propsero and Mirando stranded on a different world, a hostile planet created by the evil witch Sycorax. And so my version of the story was born.
It went through many changes and drafts. For example, my story focuses on Caliban, Claribel (who's only mentioned in the play, but never appears), and Member Five (my version of Ariel) instead of Propsero. I flipped the genre and the focus, and I hope the result is a fun take on THE TEMPEST, and I hope it's worthy of its inspiration.