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Character Questions with Sarah Stark

Sarah Stark is a member of Pigeon Creek's Repertory Company and sits on the Board of Directors. She appears in The Tempest as Miranda.

What was the last role you played (for Pigeon Creek or any other company)? Describe some key differences between that character and your current character:

The last role I played with PCSC was Hermione in The Winter’s Tale. There are vast differences between Hermione and my current character, Miranda in The Tempest.

First off, the given circumstances. Hermione is the wife of a king, Leontes. She resides in the Sicilian court amongst a set of peers consisting of other nobles, royals, and persons of power. She also has a staff of maids who serve her directly and assist in the care of her young son Mamillius and her pregnancy in which she carries a daughter.

Miranda is 15 years old, a virgin, and the only human being she has ever known is her father Prospero. The sole additional character she has encountered is Caliban.

In examination of objectives Hermione is pursuing justice and freedom from the false accusations against her character which is inherently virtuous. Hermione knows exactly who she is, and she is aware that her husband and the court all know that too, as experience and her behaviour are a concrete testament to her innocence and integrity.

Miranda, on the other hand, completely lacks familiarity with the position of power she was born into by default of her father's former title of duke of Milan until Prospero reveals this to her in Act 1, Scene 2. All of life that Miranda has ever known is living on a solitary island with her father. The earth, air, and spirits are her reality and the conceptions of courtly noble life and bustling cities are completely foreign to her. She yearns for human connection. She senses deeply the enormity and grandness of that which is yet to be discovered.

To articulate the difference between Hermione and Miranda in a visual metaphor I perceive Hermione as a mountain and Miranda as an iceberg. Who Hermione is, her status, reputation, history, and power is all majestically apparent in mass and scope, yet it is threatened with destruction due to erroneous, insidious jealousy.

With Miranda there are hints and revelations of her noble birth, of the life she could have lived, that she seems to have supposed to have lived yet it never surfaced. By her compassion and innocence we are aware of great mass and scope, but the difference is that it is submerged and subverted.

What is interesting is that despite the disparities there are a few striking similarities. Hermione's daughter Perdita is very similar to Miranda; both are closely connected to and inhabit in the natural world. They also are each paradigms of virtue and innocence whom lack a maternal figure. Finally, Hermione and Miranda share the affliction of having suffered being cast out, alienated, and not fully known for their true worth due to forces beyond their control. It is this universal truth, this unyielding alienation that makes them, and all of us as human beings, far more deeply connected then may at first appear on the surface.

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