By William Shakespeare
14 - 19 May, 2012
Lady Macbeth shocked that Macbeth still has the daggers
Murdered Banguo's ghost joins the feast
The Witches show Macbeth what could be
Lennox, Menteith, Angus and Caithness about to fight
"The Scotish play"
Macbeth and Banquo, generals of Duncan, King of Scotland, returning from a victorious campaign against rebels, encounter three Weird Sisters whose prophecies disturb deeply hidden thoughts in Macbeth. So begins a tragedy that runs a dark, bloody course as ruthless ambition and its consequences on the minds and actions of Macbeth and his wife are laid bare. The natural order of life can be restored only after their deaths.
My initial reaction when I was asked to direct Macbeth was one of elation. I love Shakespeare and this is, in my opinion, one of his best plays in that it has such a strong story. It is also his shortest play. However, the more I thought about what I had taken on the more concerned I became. There seems to be no end to what people think about Shakespeare and his plays. There are those who have a pathological dislike for all things bardic, those who openly acknowledge that they have no idea what the plays and words mean, those who expect Shakespeare to be performed in a certain way, others who expect each production to be different and those who will always question your ideas. And then there are those who come with an open mind. So, acknowledging the fact that serious drama of any sort is not the greatest crowd puller at BLT and that awful phrase ‘Bums on seats’ is more important now than ever I asked myself the question, ‘how do I have a production that, if not appealing to everyone, appeals to the majority?’
I considered what our audience likes; thrillers, murders, magic and the metaphysical, the unexpected, shock, drama and comedy. This play has all these and more. Unlike many of his other plays there are no convoluted story lines and plot twists here, just a straightforward tale of ambition, power, love, fate and death. So, I decided that our production should concentrate on these core themes and would be much more effective that way than trying to achieve some deeper, more subjective meaning.
All well and good but how was I to achieve that? Well, it would not have been possible without the help and support of a great many people both in the cast and crew. I could not start mentioning individuals, they all know what they have done and you will soon see it for yourself. I have been blessed with some brilliant actors and technical staff in this production and thank them all for working with me and for achieving all that they have done. I would like to say though that I am delighted to see so many new faces on stage and also to see such a wide age range (Mary was last a witch in Macbeth in 1949!). So, will I have achieved my ambition? Time will tell and I hope you will tell me. This article was written just two weeks into a seven week rehearsal schedule but already things are looking promising.
I don’t expect everyone necessarily to enjoy this production, but I hope that we have something that you will appreciate and understand and that will make an impact. If we have achieved this then I shall be happy.