Wednesday, August 12, 2009

SBTS cuts into macbeth


by the pricking of my thumb, something wicked this way comes...

i love macbeth, and i love point pleasant park, so combining the two makes a delightfully murderous treat for me. last night, i caught shakespeare by the sea's gory descent into the maddening mind of the scottish tyrant for next week's CC.

sbts must've blown its budget on the special effects for this one: we've got blood spurting every where, haunting music, monstrous weird sisters and even a sword fight! i saw a production of julius caeser in edinburgh where it looked like the actors had each been handed a ketchup bottle and told to squeeze it every time someone touched their toga.

sbts's macbeth is bloodier and better.

unlike some shakespeare plays, the language of macbeth is brutally clear and has some of will's all-time greatest hits, including the strange-sounding 'the be all and end all,' which is what macbeth hopes killing duncan will prove to be. but of course his vaulting ambition has him hacking and 'unseaming' all potential rivals from the nave to the chops in a wicked case of paranoia.

david patrick flemming is good as macbeth, starting with a timid, hamletian man unsure of his ruthlessness and turning him into a soulless killer who thinks little of ordering the murder of his former friends' wives and children. genevieve steele mirrors him as lady macbeth, starting of with 'unsexed' calm and freaking out into spot-rubbing madness as the old man's blood won't wash clean.

the two of them have some steamy scenes as the lady lashes her man on to murder.

even if the play occasionally slows down, or you enter into a period of bardesia, a trance-like state known to affect people battered with too many thous, you can enjoy the prettiest stage in halifax: cambridge battery.

last night, we had a murder of crows screaming death as macbeth murdered sleep, dogs howling in the distance, trains moaning and even a brief, dark rainstorm as the play butchered to its climax.

just when you think it couldn't get any better, jeremy webb stumbles drunkenly out of the port-a-potty.

if you can't get to the park, or want to warm up for it, check out roman polanski's 1971 version of macbeth. it's famous to generation of students for its ground-breaking decision to go with a topless lady macbeth (a tactic i think could be applied across the board. imagine it: Romeo & Juliet: Topless! Hamlet: Topless! Richard the Third: Topless! well, okay, maybe not that one). nothing to do with being paid for by playboy, i'm sure.

here's a rare piece of tape of polanski, his wife sharon tate and heff.

aside from that, it's a helluva a movie. it was polanski's first movie after young, pregnant tate was murdered by the manson family in 1969. what was in the director's mind as macduff's castle was 'surprised,' his wife and 'pretty' children murdered?

macbeth also has one of the most nihilistic, despondent and yet glorious takes on life when he discoveries his wife is dead. i'll paste it below and you can hear the pelonski take here.

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.
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