My group decided to take a certain moment in The Tempest and give it a modern spin.
The setting: In a one-floor house that looks even more dusty and less held-together than the one in “Courage the Cowardly Dog” and and just as isolated in the middle of of nowhere with a sparse bit of forest in the distance marking the city limits. A wooden shack, in even worse condition, is a few yards away.
Prospero (Usually sloppily dressed in whatever clothes he had (wrinkly dress shirts, dusty slacks, and torn sports jackets): A clever, manipulative man who once held a lot of power in the both the above and underground of the city. He knew the numbers and rigged them in his favor often. He’d often drag others to get dirty with him in the dark side of his business. He was eventually found out and voted out of the city by his “cleaner” colleague. Out of compassion, they let his daughter stay with him.
Miranda (Usually seen in dusty, light colored gowns, never seen in any modern city clothes): Prospero’s super sheltered, air-headed daughter. She thinks the world of her father and takes after him in some ways. She’s often lost in her daydreams and fantasies of princes and princess. As such, she’s almost guaranteed to fall in love with the first decent-looking guy that’s not her father or Caliban.
Caliban (burnt tan skin seen through tattered and dirty casual clothes): A young man who has some unknown ties to Prospero’s dark business dealings. Not very bright, so it is possible that the man easily manipulated Caliban to work for him when he was younger. He now, begrudgingly, does most of the manual labor around the land.
Ariel (Only ever seen on through a cracked smartphone screen, a picture of a elvish looking guy with green eyes): Prospero’s former right hand man. He didn’t get caught in the backlash and as such stays in the city. He keeps Prospero in the know of the events in the city and whatever seems to be heading his way. More of a yes man to Prospero than anything.
In terms of staging The Tempest, the group immediately agreed and liked the idea of modernizing the Shakespeare play, but took a while to find a theme that fit the character’s situation. I jokingly came up with the idea that Prospero, Caliban, and Miranda were hiding out there from the feds as a group of meth makers/dealers on the run. While admittedly just a joke, the idea of making Prospero some sort of kingpin stuck with me as I wrote out the roles. From there on, it was relatively easy to base Caliban and Miranda as the unfortunate benefactors of the elder’s fate.
Below is a somewhat modernized rendition of the moment we chose from the play in Act 1, Scene II (It was quite vulgar, I apologize. I took the liberty to censor where needed).
Miranda: *Yawning* Wow, Dad that’s a really boring story.
Prospero: Whatever, just wake up, we gotta go talk to Caliban again. *Walks out to the front porch and looking out towards the ruined shack nearby*
M: *Following her father* He’s smells really f****** bad though, and ugly as hell too!
P: I know sweetheart, but he still does the chores around here. *Opens the door and shouts out* Hey you ugly, sunburnt wankstain! I need you for a moment.
Caliban: *From far off, inside the shack* I did all your s*** for today, already.
Ariel: I got you on that favor, Prospero. I’ll keep an eye out. Talk to you later, sir. *Prospero hangs up his phone, end his call with Ariel*