A sudden storm comes upon the ship of Alonso, the King of Naples; his brother, Sebastian; Alonso’s son, Ferdinand; Antonio, the current Duke of Milan; and Gonzalo, a counselor of Naples; and, Alleco, the guy who always seems to forget his wallet. The ship is torn asunder, cleft in twain and best in show. The royalty on the ship, decide to make a swim for it, giving them the first bath they’ve had in a very long time.
Meanwhile, Prospero and his daughter Miranda watch the storm from the shore. Apparently, in that neck of the world, storms can be caused by low pressure systems OR angry wizards like Prospero. Miranda implores that her father end the storm but Prospero tells her that, if he ends it now, he’ll have a lot of left-over lightning stacked in his garage.
He then tells his daughter the story of how he was usurped. Miranda gets comfortable because it is a long story. Prospero was once the Duke of Milan but his brother, the guy currently getting in touch with his inner fish, supplanted him in a coup. Prospero and three-year-old Miranda were put in a small boat so undependable that rats had quit it, although I suspect is was more because a nearby boat was carrying a lot of cheese. Antonio had also put Prospero’s magical texts into the boat so they’d have something to read while they died of exposure.
But, they ended up on a deserted island… and like all deserted islands, this one had inhabitants: Caliban, a monstrous hybrid that Prospero loved, cherished and made a slave of. And, now Milan’s entire line of succession is boating just offshore leaving the Speaker of the House to run Milan. Prospero starts plotting how to get his Dukedom back, although, I’d imagine with everyone out on a boat, all Prospero had to do was get back to their castle while it was still empty.
Prospero puts his daughter into a magical sleep, the one bit of magic I wish I knew. He calls forth the spirit Ariel who reports that everyone is safe. The crew is sound asleep in the hatches because, they are union and it is their break. Ferdinand is washed up on one side of the island and all the others are washed up at the other end. This will keep them from getting together and starting up a basketball team. Ariel, the spirit who created the storm, demands his freedom. Prospero reminds him of his imprisonment within a tree where he freed the spirit through magic and a good lawyer…
Prospero wakes his daughter up and calls for Caliban. Caliban enters in a foul mood whining about how Prospero had taken his island but, was his NAME ON IT? I should say not. Prospero taught the monster how to talk and, in return, he tried to rape Miranda. Caliban was reduced in rank to slave and his place in Prospero’s family was taken by an adorable magic puppy.
Caliban saunters off in search of firewood. Ferdinand wanders in, led by Ariel’s singing and the smell of hotdogs. He sees Miranda and falls deeply in love with her because she is beautiful and goddess-like. She sees Ferdinand and falls deeply in love with him because she’s never seen a young man before. Prospero disarms him with a mix of suave charm and magic. Suddenly, the two have yet another slave, which is how North Carolina got started.
Meanwhile, Alonso and the other lords are on the other side of the island. They all assume that Ferdinand is either dead or his secretary isn’t taking their shouts. At this point we also learn that the ship was on its way back from a wedding between Alonso’s daughter Claribel and the King of Tunis. This is important because the name “Claribel” is pretty hilarious. Ariel puts most of the party to sleep, leaving only Sabastian and Antonio to keep guard. Antonio hints to Sabastian that, if something were to happen to Sabastian’s brother, Sabastian would be king of Naples, as if Naples were a good thing. As they are trying to slip Gonzalo a metal Mickey Finn, Ariel wakes everyone up. Sabastian, standing with his sword drawn, explains that Gonzalo was having a nightmare and he was just trying to stab him awake.
Meanwhile, on another part of the island, Caliban is gathering wood and cursing the guidance counselor who suggested he look into slavery as a career. Suddenly, he sees Trinculo and hides under his cape hoping Trinculo would think he was an ailing Batman and avoid him due to rabies concerns. Instead, Trinculo climbs under the cape to get out of the rain. Frankly, this is how misunderstandings get started.
Stephano staggers in, three sheets to the wind, two of which he’d already vomited on. He sees the cape with its four legs and the heads of the other two sticking out either side and imagines it to be a fantastic beast. And, when a drunk sees an animal, what does he do? He tries to get them to drink alcohol. Note: This really irritates rattlesnakes. Caliban’s first drink ever safely in his belly and bloodstream, he declares Stephano a god… Just the thing to bolster Stephano’s ego after his recent nasty divorce.
Ferdinand is chopping and carrying wood for Prospero, a prisoner but so in love he doesn’t know what he’s doing. And, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the fact that Miranda is the only woman for hundreds of miles. Miranda professes her love of Ferdinand, telling him that, if she cannot be his wife, she will be his maid… and she doesn’t do windows.
Meanwhile, Caliban convinces Stephano and Trinculo to kill Prospero by promising that Stephano can be king and take Miranda for his reluctant bride; they hesitate at first but are persuaded by Caliban’s PowerPoint presentation. Because, when it comes to killing a wizard who can summon storms and bend spirits to his will, the guy you want to send to dispatch him is the drunken idiot.
Alonso, Gonzalo, Sebastian, Antonio and Zeppo are exhausted. Alonso has given up on ever finding his son because it’s almost been half a day and nothing. They are enticed by spirits to a mysterious banquet and bade to eat, but the men balk at the eerie feast. Gonzalo encourages the men to eat because the haunted omelet-bar looks intriguing and he thinks he sees shrimp cocktails. Prospero walks in, invisible, and accuses Alonso, Sebastian and Antonio of trying to kill him and his daughter. Atonio, consumed by guilt and three shrimp cocktails into his meal, decides to throw himself into the ocean. Gonzalo sends people to find and stop Alonso because he shouldn’t go into the water that soon after eating…
Prospero gives Ferdinand and Miranda his blessings, his best wishes and a fifty pound sack of concrete that’s just been taking up space in his shed. He only asks that Ferdinand promise to love his daughter and stay out of her pants until after the ceremony. Spirits arrive in the images of Juno, Ceres and Iris to celebrate the institution of marriage. Juno’s husband couldn’t attend because he was out raping a woman while disguised as a swan. Prospero suddenly realizes that he was scheduled to be murdered by the three idiots. He and Ariel go to Prospero’s bedroom and distract Stephano and Trinculo with magnificent clothes. As the two try on the clothes, hound-shaped spirits pursue the three.
Finally, Prospero gets all parties into one room and admonishes Alonso for his treachery, thanks Gonzalo for his loyalty and attacks Sabastian for his perfidy. Prospero is told he will get his dukedom back, but one gets the distinct impression that he’ll be thrown overboard at Alonso’s convenience on the way back to Milan…