Irene MacDougall to play female Prospero in Dundee Rep's The Tempest

Irene MacDougall to play female Prospero in Dundee Rep's The Tempest

Caliban and Ariel also adapted as female roles in new production

Irene MacDougall has been a member of the Dundee Rep ensemble since its inception, but 2012 will mark her first turn in The Tempest. Like Helen Mirren in Julie Taymor’s recent film of Shakespeare’s classic, MacDougall will play Prospero as a female. The show also features a female Ariel and, more unusually, a female Caliban.

‘In a way,’ MacDougall explains, ‘the island where the story is set represents the periphery of the world. Women have been, for whatever different reasons, placed there on the edge, on the outside. It’s a place where things that are no longer needed in society are placed, and that includes inanimate as well as animate objects.’

The production will be modern ‘with a twist’, according to MacDougall, who appears unfazed by the challenges of her role. ‘All Shakespeare’s stories are so good,’ she says, ‘and these characters are so interesting. They’re all flawed, even the goodies, Prospero very much so. All Shakespeare’s stories are journeys – this is the journey of someone who has become slightly inhuman and I suppose it’s a journey towards humanity really.’

Dundee Rep Theatre, Wed 6–Sat 23 Jun.

The Tempest at Dundee Rep 6 - 23 June

The Tempest

In Shakespeare's shipwreck tale of regret and forgiveness, Prospero is washed up on a desert island and left to perish, during which time he teaches himself the dark arts in order to wreak revenge on his enemies.

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