Will Gatti & Daniel Finn


Ariel is having a word

Ariel is having a word

In ‘the Tempest’ , Ariel is a kindly airy spirit who helps Prospero punish his enemies and then make peace. After that Ariel is set free.

We never really know what the spirit thinks but I imagine a slightly tougher Ariel, at some time in the future, watching what we have done to the world and not being very sympathetic. 

In the play, Ariel sings a beautiful song one in which something that seems bad can ‘sea change into something rich and strange’.  My Ariel sounds more like this:

I’ve been around before. We all have. Us, I mean, not you. I don’t know about you. You make such a mess, concrete and clay, mate. Concrete and clay. Ditches and dirt. Oil and spoil. And now the winds are here for good. Good for me. Not you. I’m on the wing, mate. Hither and thither. Fleet of wing, that’s me. Tucked inside the whirling piles of air, surfing the storms, blind in the cloud and then whooping down to see your floods  and your muddy halls and broken homes, your soggy tents and rag-bound legs and hollow eyes.

You had eyes, so you could have seen. You could have seen the storm coming. Tough. I was pinned in a pine and that was tough. No pine there anymore.

I sometimes think, should I help, offer a hand? Old times sake, maybe. But we just don’t care about the same sort of things. Not really. We, I and my fellow spirits, like fire and air. But the air is hard to breathe now, for you that is. We can sip from the  high and the clean, the deep blue above the clouds.

You’re stuck.

I do feel sorry. In my way, that is, because I don’t have your human feelings. But there are so many of you, all lost, but still pushing on, looking for a place where you’ll be safe. Where you can lie down and sleep and not be swept away.

I do feel sorry.

But  sorry’s not enough, not enough to mend your mess and anyhow, I’m off, on the wing, free. No chains on me, mate.

And, truth to tell, I was never your mate , was I?


Because you didn’t think.

You never do.