Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Macbeth

Northwest Classical Theater Company
Posted by Frenchglen May 12, 2007; closes June 3, 2007

Solid rendering of the Scottish play. Lady Macbeth a chilling blood red, all desire and ambition run wild. Mac himself a little too handsome for true evil, but still holds darkening second half together, especially after the gloves “come on”. Beautiful, unearthly poetry of weird sisters partly lost beneath shrieking.

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

This rendering does, unfortunately, un-complicate Lady M., replacing complicated--massively Oedipal--guilt with simple libido. Mac himself walks through the role. The banquet scene is ineffectually staged. Line readings by supporting players are uninflected. The players don't seem to know what their lines mean.

But the stage combat is often gripping, especially when the three fight masters in the cast go at it.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say that all line readings by supporting players are uninflected. There are a few standouts who know what they are talking about and do it well.

Anonymous said...

Interesting - that conflicts entirely with everything I've heard about the show.

I haven't seen it - but many people I know have - and I keep hearing about how excellently they handle the text, how clear the language is and how natural it comes across.

They've also raved about how powerful a performance Paul Angelo puts forth in the leading role.

I am confused as to what you mean about Lady M having massively oedipal guilt. I don't see how that reading is justified in the text at all.

Anonymous said...

RE: 5/16/2007 06:18:00 PM

Give me a break! "Un-Complicate Lady M."? The character is very complicated even to the simple eyes of a simple man (not an actor).

FYI
"Oedipal complex is a complex of MALES; desire to possess the mother sexually and to exclude the father; said to be a source of personality disorders if unresolved"
For females it is actually called "Electra".

Anonymous said...

Um...how could Lady M have an Oedipal anything? She's a woman, not a man.

If you mean she's obsessed with her father, that would be an Electra complex...

Are you implying that she saw Duncan as a father figure? There's nothing in the text to support that....

Anonymous said...

Well, there's "Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done it," but that seems kind of the opposite of Electra-ish. (Electra-ical?)

Anonymous said...

Oops. I said "Oedipal" rather than "Electra." Mea culpa. But, you're quibbling, people.

I find hard to interpret Lady M.'s descent into madness as not associated with guilt, and this killing of a king feels very like killing of a father, to me. It may not be "in the text" explicitly, but it's there--at least, the guilt is. There's no play without the guilt.

Yes, I shouldn't have said that all the suporting players' lines are uninflected. There are one or two standouts. The porter is particularly good. MacDuff comes and goes, Brian Allard sometimes giving a compelling, naturalistic performance, sometimes retreating into an oddly stentorian, mid-Atlantic delivery. But, over all, the language is more flat than not. It's clearly spoken, but does not come off as well understood.

Paul Angelo shows skill, and occassionally exercises all of it, but for the most part I found him walking through the performance, though to be fair, there's no one else on stage who has the classical chops to be fully present with him, on stage. Allison Anderson does bring a lot of energy, and he's probably best when she's on stage with him. The 'is this a dagger I see before me' speech was particularly slack.

I think the show has been getting a pass from critics, to a large extent, maybe because NWCTC has been cruelly bashed, in the past. I think some of the heat in the defensive comments on this thread, though, is coming from people with overly thin skins. How do we get better without (respectful) criticism?

I believe the director, Brian Allard, is promising as both director and actor, but he needs critical feedback in order to grow, as do we all.

frankieb said...

i want to address the use of animals in this production. i have other thoughts about the show some favorable (taking risks in a tiny space), some unfavorable (the unfortunate direction of the lady macbeth character) but unfortunately they were all overshadowed by my concern for the lizard which was brought out in the second act and by my worry that the exploitation of animals seems to be a growing trend in the portland theatre community. this is the second show in a brief span of time at which i have been totally removed from the world of the play because someone decided that having live animals on stage would be "neat". in both cases the animals were completely unecessary to the action of the play. in the case of the lizard, i completely missed hearing the three witches make their prophetic announcements to Macbeth because all i could do was worry about what would happen to the lizard if he fell off his precarious perch (an actor's shoulder) and ran into the audience. this use of live animals on stage should be considered to be, at best, neglectful and at worst, abusive. as theatre artists we spend a great deal of our time in the rehearsal process making sure that we are keeping each other safe. why then would we endanger the life and well-being of any other creature? i am a big proponent of supporting one another in this community and in seeing each other's shows, however, i am not prepared to buy tickets to another show that willfully puts the welfare of live animals on the line. so, i'm saying, let's think about it. thanks. sorry this post is so long. this is just an issue about which i have very strong feelings. surprise!
frankie

jam.es said...

in general, i enjoyed this production. i thought it moved well, and everyone seemed really engaged with and committed to the onstage action. i liked the banquet scene incorporating the audience, and the asides (and would have liked even more acknowledgment of the size of the space/proximity to the audience).

but, i also felt that this production's Lady M is reduced to libido (albeit powerful libido), which sometimes seems extremely at odds with her character's motiviations (in particular in the scene after [**oh: SPOILER**] Macbeth slays Duncan). additionally, i thought that Mr. M's arc was not as dynamic as i would like, as it appeared to be more about going slowly insane than about a tragic downfall.

and then, for a technically spare show, there were a lot of elements that distracted from the text and the actors delivering said text: negligees, oozing blood packs, and a live animal...which leads me to...

why is there a live animal in this production? this struck me as really inappropriate. i'm not a fan in general of live animals on stage. but here, as it eventually ends up on the back of someone moving around quickly, with strobe lights and loud sound effects going off, it struck me as particularly misguided. my first (and most important) problem is concern for the safety of the animal. if something goes wrong on that stage, what happens to the lizard? in general, if a person trips on stage, it's likely they won't be hurt too badly, and they've chosen to be there. if someone falls in this particular scene, with the lizard on them, or if the lizard jumps down and a foot lands wrong, that lizard, who did not choose to be there, may not be so okay.

my second problem is a more technial one: that it (as you may be able to tell from the above) totally took me out of the show. what should have been a pretty pivotal scene where Mr. M finds out some pivotal details about his future became all about the lizard on a witch's back: "is that real? how's it hanging on? who does it belong to? what if it fell off in the audience?" etc...and poof! scene's over.

i just can't think of a reason or justify that lizard's stage debut...or any reason why there should ever be live animals on stage.

Anonymous said...

Annie comes to mind with regards to animals on stage.

Animals and live theatre are a dangerous combination. With film, obviously you can frame, shoot and edit to get the desired effect, and the animals on set are generally "professionals" with a trainer just off-camera at all times. The same cannot be said for an open stage.

The American Humane Society oversees the use of animals in motion pictures, but since they don't have oversight everywhere, it is up to us to speak up for animals we perceive to be in danger. I would love to hear NWCTC's side of this. I have not seen this show yet, but now I'm not sure I can go into it cold, with the knowledge I have now.

And don't get me started on rodeos...

Brian said...

For those concerned:

The lizard in question belongs to the actor who is playing the role of Witch #3. She is also the only one who interacts with him. It was her idea to include him in the play.

It seems presumptious to me that people would assume the lizard is in a dangerous, uncomfortable situation, as though we just threw him in there at the last minute. We did rehearse with him in the space, with the sound effects. We also rehearsed with him in preview with an invited audience, where if something had gone wrong, we would have been able to stop. He has never been bothered by the effects, noise or the audience.

Again, it was his owner's idea to use him, and she is the one who handles him. She assured me that he would be fine in the situation, and through rehearsals and the first 8 performances, that has proven to be true. I hope that can set some minds as ease.

As to it being distracting, my hope had been that by the time we get to the prophecies, he would have been accepted by the audience and would no longer be a distraction (there is a significant amount of "witches" stage time before Macbeth enters.) Clearly this failed for some people.

I have other thoughts on comments laid out here - I'm not sure it is acceptable to respond, so I'll avoid doing so. But please feel free to contact me personally if you would like to discuss. I think a lot of good points have been addressed, and would welcome discussion, particularly regarding the portrayal of Lady Macbeth and the doctor scene.

I will say that I think all of my actors are brilliant, personally.

And I would love to hear from "anon 9:09" because I am unsure what s/he means by "stentorian, mid-atlantic." And I'm genuinely interested. Directing yourself is much harder than it seems at first glance.

Thank you all for sharing your opinions. This is an unusual resource to have as a theatre artist, hearing directly from your audience.

-Brian Allard
Director

Anonymous said...

By "stentorian/mid-Atlantic" I meant that your delivery turns a bit falsely theatrical, at moments; a little old timey, like Paul Robeson doing Othello, though I greatly exaggerate. It sounds like a vocal default position rather than a choice, since it comes and goes, coming on when you're less grounded, perhaps. I enjoy your work when it's grounded, as it is often here.

Anonymous said...

Brian, I do think this is a forum in which you can respond to critics--though Followspot might tell us differently--especially if the discussion is one of mutual inquiry and (gentle) debate, and not simply a blasting back and forth of defensive rationales (which I DO NOT hear you doing! Your tone is great.)

Anonymous said...

By the way, the oedipal/electra(ical) element IS in the text. Here it is:

Lady M: "....I laid their daggers ready--
He could not miss 'em. Had he not resembled
My father as he slept, I had done't."

Sorry, I'd forgotten that, when I posted earlier.

Brian said...

Anon 2:29 - I think I know the moments you are talking about - both of which are Macduffe alone onstage - "Awake, awake" after finding Duncan dead and "Tyrant show thy face," on the battlefield. Am I correct?

Anon 2:35 - I posted my thoughts on my own blog, which you can get to by clicking on my name and following it through to "Idiot Sychronicity." I certainly welcome any discussion there as well.

Anonymous said...

it's good to hear the perspective of someone involved in the production regarding our friend, the lizard (does he have a name by the way?). i was certainly not under the impression that you had thrown the lizard on stage at the last moment. i assumed you had rehearsed with him beforehand and i also assumed that the lizard was "related" to someone on stage. that's not actually the point, however. allow me to explain...
i am glad to hear that witch #3 is his guardian. perhaps that is a comfort to him as he is held out to 30 strange staring faces every night. (sorry. that sounded much more sarcastic than i meant it) my point is simply this: being on stage is scary, that's not a presumption, i know that for a fact, i am on stage quite often. there are two important differences (as i see it)between the lizard and me and they are as follows: 1) i choose to be there, i am not carried on someone's shoulder and forced to participate. 2) if i accidentally fall into the audience i stand a significantly better chance of not being crushed under someone's foot. it's important to acknowledge the risk we are taking with the life of that animal and to own up to the responsibility we have for the well-being of that animal once we decide to bring him on stage. in my view, the risks involved in using live animals on stage far outweigh any possible benefits. just wanted to put that out there to the theatre community at large as something to think about before they put animals in their next show. best of luck with the run of the show and take good care of that lizard.
frankieb

Brandee said...

I am the owner of Huxley the bearded dragon and I can assure you that his time on stage is neither neglectful nor abusive. I care about him very much and would do nothing to harm him.

jame.s said...

Brian,

thank you for your response. i appreciate hearing from you.

i don't assume the lizard was thrown in at the last minute (and i’m glad to have that confirmed). i might not even suggest he’s in a clearly dangerous situation. however, i do think the lizard is in an unpredictable situation. this is live theatre, where anything can happen, for just about any reason. surely, your actors in that scene (all of whom i enjoyed, by the by and just for the record) will be where they’re supposed to be, when they are supposed to be there: but if something throws that off, that animal, who probably did not train in theatre and therefore whose reactions can’t rightly be prepared for, is not in a reliable situation. and it makes me uncomfortable and concerned as an audience member to see that.

and while i'm glad rehearsals happened with the lizard, i don't know that that helps for me in the audience. for [a flawed] example, your show has younger actors in fight scenes with stage swords and knives and whatnot. and i didn't fear for their (the actors') safety, because i can see that they are prepared (even when their characters are not). however much rehearsal occurs with the lizard, it's still a real lizard, and that's all it's prepared to be. it's an admittedly flawed example, seeing as there is no fight scene with the lizard, but do you see what i'm getting at?

and if it were critical to the show, i could maybe understand a case for it, though i still would have big reservations about an animal’s inclusion. in this case, i don’t see what it adds to the show. in that scene, the witches list some rather amazing things…for my taste, i would rather have seen what the properties crew came up with for “wool of bat” or “tongue of dog” than to see a real lizard, which is not mentioned (the closest mention to a lizard is a leg of one (in the text i have, admittedly not first folio)).

thanks again for engaging in this dialogue.

best:

jam.es

Anonymous said...

"Anon 2:29 - I think I know the moments you are talking about - both of which are Macduffe alone onstage - "Awake, awake" after finding Duncan dead and "Tyrant show thy face," on the battlefield. Am I correct?"

Yah.

TheatreBrian said...

Anon 3:07:

I address that line in my post on my blog, but to put it succinctly, I don't believe that one mention that "he resembled my father as he slept" implies an Electra complex.

In fact, the one scene she has with Duncan in the play she treats him rather coldly, and it's the one time he treats someone with less than gentleness as well.

I think Lady Macbeth is making excuses, and that's how we're playing it. I certainly understand that others read that line differently, and would choose to play it differently, however.

I don't think that un-complicates Lady M, though. Again - for a full explanation of what we're going for there, you'd need to see my blog (I don't feel right posting the whole thing here.)

Brian said...

Whoops. That should have been from this account.

Anonymous said...

I think this whole issue of live animals on stage is an interesting one and maybe deserves it's own blog someplace else. So I'll start.

I have directed or performed with numerous live animals in my career. Basically you find two kinds. One kind is trained animals, usually dogs, who know how to perform and like it (dogs perform at dog shows all the time and trainers will tell you that "show dogs" enjoy the fun and attention of performing as much as people do.) Why use them? Have you ever seen anyone try and pull off Annie or The Wizard of OZ with an actor in a dog suit? It doesn't work at all. Frankly I'm not sure how Two Gentlemen of Verona would work without a real dog playing Crab. He usually steals the show. I'll bet Shakespeare had some old mutt around somewhere and used him. So yes, there is a place for these kinds of "performers" in live theater.

The other kind of animal actors are the "unaware" animals. Turtles (like the tortoise in Arcadia), snakes (You Can't Take it with You), lizards (Night of the Iguana) or birds (can't think of a show for this one ... help me out here). The idea that a lizard is concerned by dozens of people looking at him is silly though. You think he's self concious? Reptiles react to smell and temperature. They generally like stage lights and human bodies because they are warm. These kinds of animals really don't have an awareness of audiences or theater. As long as they are not uncomfortable or being physically abused, these kinds of animals really don't have an emotional investment in where they are or who is looking at them. I'm sure "Huxley" the bearded dragon (he sounds cool) is fine being carried by his owner and couldn't care less about the audience or the show.

Actually the only animal that I have yet to see work well on stage is a cat. They are much harder to train than dogs, they are pretty aware of what's going on and they really they don't like it (I was in a production of Bell, Book and Candle once where the leading lady was almost scratched to death at first dress.) An unhappy cat on stage (or a poorly trained dog for that matter) can ruin a show.
So you have to be just as sensible about casting animals as you are about actors. Basically, do they know what they are doing and do they really want to be there.

I will say however, that using live animals on stage is a bit risky artistically. Like nudity, there may be a justification for it, and it may have it's charm, but it almost always takes the audience out to the moment.

Frankly, like very small children, animals are just too good at being honest, real and in the moment on stage. They make the rest of us look bad. So W.C. Fields was right.

Anonymous said...

I greatly appreciate the commentary about the lizard. I was planning on seeing the show, but I definitely could not handle the stress of thinking the lizard would fall or get injured. I prefer my dramas to be fictional, not actual.

David said...

To be fair, the dang lizard looked pretty comfortable, to me. He took me out for a moment or two, but I quickly felt confident that he didn't give a poop about anything, and was fine.

Anonymous said...

... are we seriously posting about the lizard getting hurt? The owner is on stage with it and handles it with great care. I'm sorry, but its absolutely ridiculous to think that the lizard is of any risk to the audience, let alone itself. They rehearsed with it, the owner is the only one who interacts with it, and as I've seen firsthand, she does a masterful job at that.

Iz said...

It doesn't matter if there is any real danger or not, it's the perceived danger that can take an audience member out of the moment and out of the play. THe audience couldbe told ahead of time that the lizard is just fine, but if all they can do is worry about it instead of focusing on the play, then isn't that a detriment to the production?

Anonymous said...

All I know is watching the show, I found far more engaging things than worrying about the lizard. I guess I just put in a bit more trust in the owner than many of you did.

Dino said...

In as small a space as the shoebox, I'd be a little uneasy with any animal that close to me in the audience ... and since I'm particularly shy of lizards and such, I'd probably have to leave (or, in this case, not even go).

Shakespeare -- upstaged by a lizard.

Anonymous said...

The production makes a lot of interesting staging choices. I loved the expanded, creepy menace of Seyton, who does interesting stuff throughout the play --
although preparing to rape Lady Macduff seems a bit much. Leads strong,swordplay terrific. Even with a lot of script cuts, however, people too often
seemed in a rush to get through the lines; even the leads occasionally rattled through them like a steam train racketing on railroad ties.

I disagree that the play "un-complicates" Lady M -- it's just a different array of complications, and I don't know where you get the "oedipal" stuff -- and
Angelo is a fine Macbeth. Best scene of the production is the two of them right after Duncan's murder: Macbeth so fearfully stunned and astonished at what he's
done that he's oblivious to his wife's arousal because he's finally delivered and "become a man," until she pulls him down on her atop the knives.

Except for the fight choreography, much of second half was weaker than the first, however -- particularly the pivotal IV, iii with Malcolm and Macduff. I
appreciated the risk and even enjoyed the comic business with the doctor in the sleepwalking scene, but ultimately it took too much focus away from Lady M and
dissipated the creepy poignance of the scene, so it was probably not such a good directorial choice.

Anonymous said...

Now a show that has live lizard juggling...there's one I'd make time for. Particularly spiny iguanas. Or Gila monsters.

Anonymous said...

I guess I just put in a bit more trust in the owner than many of you did.

Anon 11:11-You sound as though you knew from the beginning that she was the owner; what about the audience that goes in cold?

And, as frankieb said, other than it being a "neat" thing to do, why is the lizard in the show? No one has answered that yet.

jam.es said...

"I guess I just put in a bit more trust in the owner than many of you did."

i ask because i simply don't recall: is there anything in the program or otherwise to suggest that Huxley's owner is the person interacting with him? i did not know that until this discussion, but i may not have read my program closely enough to see it.

for me, the issue is not about trusting Brandee, who obviously cares for Huxley (as is evident from her post above). i don't however trust what a lizard will do onstage, and what might accidentally take place after that, which thus resulted in my concern (for the lizard's safety, not for mine (i tend not to fear bearded dragon attacks)).

best:
jam.es

Anonymous said...

Early in my theatre career I heard the rule "Never put a live animal on stage. It's distracting."

The person I saw the show with afterward said to me "I was so scared for that lizard through the whole scene!"

I was not particularly scared for the lizard, but while I was watching the scene I thought, "Why would they use a real lizard? What are they going to do with it? I bet that while they were in rehearsals the actress playing the witch said, 'I have a pet reptile, wouldn't it be cool if he was just on my shoulder through one scene?' and everyone was like, 'yeah! that would be cool!' So then they put it in the show."

The point I'm making there is not that it was a half-cocked idea, but that it was distracting because it made me think of an actress suggesting using her pet in the production. I had no doubt that the actress was taking care of the lizard and protecting it (to the best of her ability) from danger, but I still couldn't stop staring at it, or thinking about it, or thinking of it as an actor's pet. So it was distracting. It's a knee jerk reaction. Just like an actor wearing white isn't necessarily the important character in a scene, but your eye will naturally be drawn to them. Also if they're standing downstage or moving. Live animals DO steal focus, in all my experience, and this was not an exception.

I felt about the lizard the way I felt about a lot of elements of this show. I appreciated deliberate attempts to defy convention and create a more immediate, involved, visceral experience for an audience, but i also felt like these moments were isolated from the arc and the story, rather than coming naturally. Many scenes felt very "stand-alone" rather than contributing to a whole. Overall, I was not taken on a journey, though again, I appreciated many interesting ideas and performances. I, unfortunately, was not a fan of the oversexed Lady M. I don't disagree that sex is a weapon she wields, but she has also (and this is purely my interpretation) always had a strong core of composure and reason, a calculating nature completely unmoved by passion, that was absent for me. I just didn't see the strength and determination of motive that I usually envision.

But I applaud the production for the risks it took.

Anonymous said...

Is the lizard equity? Because I am sure his contract would easily cover any accidental "foot-falls."

Anonymous said...

Holy crap ... IS the lizard equity?!?

Brian, please let me know ASAP!

I will be really depressed if the lizard is making more money than I am in this town.

Brandee said...

If there are any more concerns, questions or comments about Huxley please post them on my blog. You can get there by clicking on my name. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Brandee,

Your blog will only allow Google/Blogger commenting and, while I can understand the need to make people accountable for their comments, you'll probably not get completely honest feedback that allowing anonymous posting will.

And, I don't believe you are responsible for the larger question: why is Huxley in the show in the first place?

Brian said...

It was the pick-up option on a three-show deal. We were contractually bound to get him in before the end of the season.

Huxley has one heck of an agent, let me tell you. I think he's shooting a Geico commercial later this year.

Thankfully, we only have to pay him in live worms.

Anonymous said...

I think that there must be something a bit more substantial regarding the performance to discuss; the lizard discourse has grown stale. I'll start. Did anyone else find Duncan's resemblance to V.I. Lenin distracting? Or, how MacDuffe looked uncannily like Paul Giamatti? I rather liked how Lady MacBeth was wearing lingerie the whole time, but I might have chosen something different. I also found her face to be very expressive. Even when she wasn't saying her lines her face kept in character. This also applies to the tall girl with the big curly hair. I think she was the gentlewoman? I understand that given the company's size several of the actors have to play multiple roles, however, at times I found it confusing. I had a hard time following who was playing who, though maybe thats just a reflection of my lack of Shakespeare knowledge. I thought this was particularly confusing when it came to the children actors. Also, I thought MacBeth's decapitated head looked, um, silly. I didn't like when the witches were wearing ball gowns in the beginning. Why were they wearing that? I did like when they were raggedy-looking later, though. I thought the Porter was funny and I appreciated his interactions with the audience (but I admit I was embarrassed when he sat on my lap). He seemed to have a real understanding of his lines. Plus, he was so handsome. I also really liked Banquo. The fight scenes, though well choreographed, seemed a bit long. I got bored towards the end. I think the theater space itself is lovely. I had read that it was uncomfortably small, but I thought it was cozy and intimate. I didn't have to strain my eyes or ears to know what was going on. Plus, they gave out free candy. Whats not to love about that?
Consider this an invitation to further discussion regarding anything other than the lizard the use of animals in productions.

Neal said...

Wow. This is the first time in a long time that a thread has gone this long, and (for the most part) been a worthwhile and civilized discussion. To think I had just about given up hope for this site. Thanks to those above for the tenor and earnestness of the discourse.

mlk said...

I agree that this is a really important issue and applaud all involved for maintaining a level of respect and genuine debate that I have not seen on here for a long time. I have never posted before, and was losing interest in the sniping but this is a very inspiring thread. And I hope to see the show (minor details!)

Anonymous said...

After all this wasted breath, that lizard better win a frickin' Drammy.

Anonymous said...

Forget the lizard, I want to talk about the free candy.
The free candy was AWESOME!
And Lady M was sexy as hell in her lingere!
And there was plenty of violence and gore - as there SHOULD BE!
and the Porter actually was pretty cute now that you mention it so if he sat on your lap, well then lucky for you!

Not that this equals great Shakespeare but the play actually was pretty good as well. I mean don't get me wrong, but hell, sexy women in lingere, blood and gore o'plenty, some crazy ass witches, a cute guy in your lap and did I mention THEY GIVE YOU FREE CANDY? I can think of a lot worse ways to spend an evening.

Sure, the production appealed to the groundling in me but so what? Shakespeare wrote for the groundlings too. And yes, there were some moments of beautiful poetry and fine acting. Mac and his Mrs. had some lovely scenes. Allison always seems to create great chemisty with her leading men. She did the same thing in Henry V. Lady MacDuff was a great new find as well. I think she is new in town. MacDuff himself took a new approach to his character as did Seton. That was great and made two otherwise fairly dull characters a lot more interesting. I liked the witches. Nothing really new there, but well done with plenty of commitment and lots of fun to watch.

Any complaints? Well, one.
Where was the King's Ghost at the party? I felt a little ripped off by no Ghost. The cookie was nice but it didn't make up for it.
I can deal with no Hecate and no bloody baby coming up out of the cauldron (although that is absolutely one of my favorite parts if you can pull it off) and I get why the "Woods coming to Dunsinane" looked a little silly. Where are you going to put a bunch of trees in that theater, right?
But I love the part where the bloody ghost of the murdered king stares at MacBeth from across the dinner table until he goes all ape shit and starts screaming and his wife has to slap him and nobody else can see the ghost but him. That's the best scene in the whole play! But it's a lot more fun when we get to see the Ghost along with MacBeth. It's like when they do Hamlet's father as a voice over. BORING!
So what was the choice there?

Otherwise a good evening of Shakespearean gore with a little grab-ass and some free sweets and just enough pretty poetry and high tragedy thrown in for the people in the balcony.

Go NW Classical!

Anonymous said...

Umm . . . that would be Banquo's ghost at the party. The ghost of Duncan -- or Hamlet's father -- would be extras not specified in the script.

Brian said...

I'm assuming you mean Banquo's ghost, as opposed to the King's ghost.

The choice was simple for me, honestly. If the audience can't see the dagger, or any of the other creations of Macbeth's mind, why should they be able to see Banquo's ghost?

It's about consistency - either we, as the audience, can see the things in Macbeth's imagination, or we can't. And that should be consistent. This is one of the few times I felt comfortable contradicting something in the folio (it says "enter Banquo's Ghost.")

Thank you for all the other lovely comments, though. I'm glad you enjoyed the show.

sirjer said...

Anon 5/23 illustrates a good point (if somewhat unintentionally): to those not so familiar with the show, how would you know it's Banquo who's haunting Mac in that particular scene without seeing him there? In general I'm a believer of the less-is-more approach and letting the audiences' imagination do the work for you but it didn't occur to me at the time I was watching the show that somewhat might think it's somebody/something else altogether.

I still enjoyed Mac's freak-out and the show in general, many fresh choices and fine performances in this production (Particularly Ruiz, Flowers and Walton on the night I saw it -The special Monday night performance).

Anonymous said...

Banquo's ghost appears at the banquet. Duncan (the King) dies but doesn't show up as a spirit. At least as I read the script.

Anonymous said...

Do i really get to be the one to be like, "um, anon 11:40pm, i think you mean Banquo, not the dead king."

No, i'm probably not the first, but i actually missed that moment, too.

David said...

How do we know that Banquo's ghost is just in Mac's imagination? The witches seem real enough. The weather and the horses do freak out when Duncan's killed. And, when is Shakespeare ever particularly consistant?

Brian said...

Sorry, I was imprecise in my previous post. I don't really mean in Mac's imagination, per se, more that we don't see the visions that appear only to him, real or imagined - again, the dagger is my example, and Lady M in fact makes the comparison between the two.

Another example would be the voice that says "Macbeth shall sleep no more" - which, of course, happens offstage, so no choice needs to be made there.

I'm not sure what you mean about the witches, weather and horses...

And Shakespeare is almost always consistent. Why do you think otherwise?

David Loftus said...

I'm so accustomed to productions being Banquo's ghost on (as well as cutting corners on the witches' three apparitions; how did Shakespeare's crew stage those pesky directions, does anyone know?), that it was somewhat refreshing to have him not be there for us. And I follow Brian's rationale.

On the other hand, I'm guessing Mr. Millstone was also imprecise here. I understood him to say that Shakespeare (or rather, the scripts handed down to us by his actors) is sometimes inconsistent with himself, and rarely seems to demand utter consistency of his directors. One of the many wonderful things about Bard's plays is how MANY different things you can do with them, how many different says they can be imagined and staged, without doing a lot of violence to the script.

And no, I wasn't concerned about the lizard on stage at the time, though he was distracting. . . .

Anonymous said...

Excellent. Some of the best Shakespeare done around here in a long while..Angelo is fantastic and Anderson is incredible together they make really palpable electricity...great job to all involved.

Anonymous said...

I saw it last night and I would have to agree that Mac and Lady M really do a great job. Love the conection between the two. Very sexy murder scene. Did I say that? Well it was both creepy and sexy. Really fine work from everyone. Once of the best productions of the Scottish play I've scene. Bravo to this tiny theatre!

Anonymous said...

Saw it sunday. And it is official-- Angelo is my new favorite actor in town. This guy is simply tremendous....he is like a chamelon- truly. I think I have seen everything this actor has been in-- in the past year or so and not on purpose,at first. He creates a completely different person every single time I see him. So much so that for awhile I didn't even know it was the same guy I was watching...I mean physically...the sound of the voice...the speach pattern....he is so convincing that every part I have seen him in seems like the "only" thing he can play(he reminds me of Chris Cooper in this way)...really fantastic and his take on Macbeth was simply inspired. The tragic decline of an everyman- the slow creep of madness upon his mind like and ivy crawling across a building. Wonderful. I am a fan and will now seek out any show that his name.