Monday, July 16, 2007

Notes from the journey

First of all--dudes! my professor does not look like this version of Christian Bale. More like this version of Christian Bale. Sheesh. Y'all are really fun about it, though.

One of the things we did was see Macbeth at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-on-Avon. I brought the kids, as they were all very interested in going, and after reassuring the ticket office lady that yes, I know the play has lots of murder and mayhem and horribleness, and youngest will definitely hide his eyes for some of the evening, in we all went. Now, this production has warnings posted outside, about it being violent, sexual, and containing some very loud noises. I warned youngest kid, and covered his eyes a few times--for example, the witches scene with Macbeth where they put a noose around his neck, string him up for a while, lower him, and (with the noose and hood still over his head) lift his kilt, and back up to him to force anal sex while one of the other witches whacks him on the ass with a sceptre. Macbeth is freaked out by this. As one might imagine.

The production has some really good ideas. It opens with INCREDIBLY loud banging noises, that made the whole audience jump - yes, visibly - over and over again, then Macbeth comes out in--well, just a kilt, really, and proceeds to murder some women and children pretty horribly. These women then become the three witches. The same performers also appear as various servants throughout the show. This solves several problems, and worked very well indeed. The witches had a reason to be pissed off at Macbeth; their presence is constant so we see why Macbeth would be driven nuts by this. Perhaps most brilliantly, in the "double double toil and trouble" scene, the women set up an actual fire pit (which was scary) and have suitcases with them, and when Macbeth wants their master to speak, the voice of the devil comes from the charred bodies of the women's murdered children, which the women manipulate like puppets (they're baby dolls) via knives they insert into the backs of the dolls. Some child actors provide the babies' voices. While the witches are chanting, "eye of newt" and all that crap, what they're really throwing into the fire is mementos taken from their suitcases of their dead children. It was amazing. It made some of the weirdest-ass stuff in the play really make sense.

Gotta go, but more to come.


Anonymous Kat said...

If you're professor looked like the first version of Christian Bale, I would sign up for the neuro-bio-brain-biology class too! And then promptly fail.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Lucia said...

Yikes. You'll forgive me if I don't go to see that particular staging.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

Honey, I don't really care which version of Christian Bale he looks like. Just so long as it's not Christian Bale circa 1987/8 in Empire of the Sun. That would be creepy.

As for Macbeth, I highly recommend the adaptation Scotland, PA - the Macbeth story transplanted to mid-1970's Pennsylvania as a comedy noir. So incredibly funny and so incredibly underrated.

11:03 PM  
Anonymous Lynne said...

I'm with Kat - if you prof looked like that, I'd be signing up for this course AND going in for lots of extra help!

Interesting adaptation of Macbeth... obviously not for the sgueamish.

12:20 PM  

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