How does Margaret Atwood preserve and adapt the theme of illusion/magic from The Tempest to Hag-Seed?

Margaret Atwood both preserves and adapts the theme of illusion/magic from The Tempest to Hag-Seed by emphasizing the enchantment of theater. In putting on his elaborate production of The Tempest, Felix uses elaborate costumes and staging techniques to transform his troupe of inmate actors into thespians.

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Felix is not a magician; he cannot do magic tricks, and he lacks the kind of knowledge that allows Prospero to conjure up a massive sea-storm that brings a ship-load of his enemies to his remote island. But he is a talented theater producer, and he's not about to pass...

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Felix is not a magician; he cannot do magic tricks, and he lacks the kind of knowledge that allows Prospero to conjure up a massive sea-storm that brings a ship-load of his enemies to his remote island. But he is a talented theater producer, and he's not about to pass up the opportunity that he's been waiting for for so many years to cast a spell upon his audience with his dazzling, if somewhat-unconventional take on Shakespeare's final play.

As Felix will be working with prison inmates rather than professional actors, he's going to need to draw on all his creative resources to impress the audience. And he doesn't disappoint, going to often absurd lengths to make his production something that will be talked about for years to come.

This mainly involves decking out his players in outrageous costumes and using radical staging techniques. For instance, Ariel is played by a transvestite on stilts who transforms into a giant firefly at significant moments during the play. Then we have Caliban as a paraplegic, pushing himself around stage on an oversized skateboard.

Of course there's Felix himself. He is effectively the Prospero of the story, except that what magical powers he does possess are purely theatrical. Like Shakespeare himself, albeit on a much more modest scale, he possesses the remarkable talent to conjure up a dazzling world of the imagination.

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