Performed as part of the RSC’s Sound and Fury project – Shakespeare meets modern wordplay. Originally commissioned for the egg, Theatre Royal Bath

I tell of him
who summoned them storms in vengeance
poisoned by the wrath of his remembrance
Him that gave language just to impose the senseless.
His name was Prospero
And he prospers by what he knows.
Knowledge he keeps for himself
And it is used for the bad, to enslave and to mystify.
Know the language that fills up your mouth is imposition.
And subject your ambition to a bootless inquisition.

Look, Prospero, wronged, survived.
He grew wise.
He got fattened on dem books.
He despised when he should have dismissed.
Well, that to this is all relative.

Madness for those who can’t measure it,
Sadness for those who seek it said of it,
Gladness for those who know that pleasure is all self-constructed,
Who know how to clutch it.

Look, if by your art you are fevered of the skies,
You need to let the heat within rise and evaporate.
If you’re the type that sees the sea’s tide is against you, you will never navigate.
I know that language is for those obsessed with real meaning.
Don’t love the oppressor or trust the oppressor,
but don’t begrudge the oppressor the oppressor’s oppression
because each has to learn their own lessons.

Look, if all these people were prophets,
We’d profit.
We were born with the truth but then we
Lost it in logic so go and find it.
Remind yourself of the timeless
because you are the planet that bred you.
And you are the language that led you.
And you are the knowledge that fed you.
So just own it.

Make it make sense and make it
Relevant.
And never believe that the words of the wise are not your words to read.

See, when I hear the quiet voice of vengeance in my ear,
That’s when I know hell is empty, ‘cause all the devils are here.
When my tongue tastes shadows, and all my friends are shedding tears,
That’s when I know hell is empty, ‘cause all the devils are here.
When my heart is consumed with regret and fear,
That’s when I know hell is empty, ‘cause all the devils are here.
And when the boat sails away and I get left on the pier,
That’s when I know hell is empty, ‘cause all the devils are here.
When you’re trying to understand but the text isn’t clear,
When the demon jumps up straight, rejecting the spear,
When the view is so bleak, it starts infecting the seer,
That’s when you know that hell is empty, ‘cause all the devils are here.

So, call me Caliban.
They gave me language, so I could rain down these curses in verses.
And I will take them on word for word.
Because believe me, the worst is
That I have to watch my good friends gettin’ caught up in circuits.
You see, the serpent he rehearses his hisses.
He makes the valiant vicious.
And I know now never to waste wishes.
So, go on then, conjure a storm on the head of your enemy.
You’re going to find yourself victim of negative energy.
What you need to do is extend your empathy.
Make yourself sensitive.

This island was mine for a home.
I was free to make rhyme as I roamed
Now my mind is alone as I writhe and I moan.
I’m the captive of consonants
And I beseech you to be much more confident.
‘Cause we run around nonchalant,
rejected, and restless, like,
‘Oh, we can’t change nothin’ though, so why should we try?’

But look, we can change.
We can rampage ‘til we stand strange.
Right now we got our hands chained,
Clutching at freedom.
You know, the freedom of mean-what-you-say and say-it with meaning.
We need to change our own minds before we try and change the sequence.
We need to live with our energy and not by our reason.
But this the last day of my discontent, its season.
No more will I tolerate this greed.
It’s demeaning.
We’re needing a breeze through this stifling heat
Of elitist descriptions of what we can reach.
But they want you to fear it,
To not get too near it.
So they can continue pretending they are smarter.
Sit still though,
Receive it from self like Siddhartha.
The past is just what we came after.

So when you hear the quiet voice of vengeance in your ear,
That’s when you know hell is empty, ‘cause all the devils are here.
When your heart is consumed with regret and fear,
That’s when you know hell is empty, ‘cause all the devils are here.
When your tongue tastes shadows, and all your friends are shedding tears,
That’s when you know hell is empty, ‘cause all the devils are here.
And when your boat sails away and you get left on the pier,
That’s when I know hell is empty, ‘cause all the devils are here.
When you’re trying to understand but the text isn’t clear,
When the demon jumps up straight, rejecting your spear,
When the view is so bleak, it starts infecting the seer,
Then you know that hell is empty, ‘cause all the devils are here.

(This transcription is not my own and it was done without permission of the artist.  Kate Tempest is an amazing artist. All credit to her.)

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