Thursday, 20 August 2015

All Hail Macbeth!

"God's benison go with you, and with those
That would make good of bad, and friends of foes."

William Shakespeare




I've mentioned previously that we are listening to & reading Shakespeare's Macbeth and on the weekend we headed for the hills to be present at MariMudge Shakespeare's first ever performance of that very play.



 The Cast

L to R: Mr T - 15yrs; Mr. I - 15 yrs; Miss C - 7 yrs; Miss S - 13 yrs; Miss M - 8 yrs; Miss L - 14 yrs.



I was privileged to have a rare interview with two of the weird sisters, and I must say that casting the pair in this role was a stroke of genius. Who would have known that these two with their child-like demeanour and seeming innocence would have led Macbeth down the path he took?

 But 'tis strange:
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray's
In deepest consequence.

Macbeth: Act 1: Scene 3


Beware, Macbeth!
Not really, my nieces are very sweet!

The Royal Shakespeare Company production starring Ian McKellen and Judi Dench is a sparse but good interpretation of Macbeth we watched a few years ago. The scene where Macduff's wife is murdered is one you might want to skip but apart from that nothing else comes to mind. Even so, it would be better appreciated by those of a high school age as it relies mostly on dialogue and there isn't much in the way of props. Both actors are wonderful and the weird sisters not as creepy as those found in other versions of Macbeth.




Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
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.

Macbeth: Act 5: Scene 5





The Gael  - this piece is mostly known by its inclusion in the film, The Last of the Mohicans, but it was written by a Scot, Dougie Maclean (The Gael = The Scot or Scotsman). It's a stirring piece of music so I can understand why they pinched it. Here it is so you can feel the Scottish atmosphere of  Macbeth...





Here's the smell of the blood still: all the
perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little
hand. Oh, oh, oh!

Lady Macbeth: Act 5: Scene 1 



Although Shakespeare based his play on fact - Macbeth did rule Scotland in the eleventh century - he  changed some historical and chronological details. The book Macbeth and Son by Jackie French is an interesting version of the character of Macbeth which takes a very different view to that of Shakespeare. It uses a modern setting and interweaves the time period of Macbeth's Scotland into the narrative. One of my daughters really enjoyed this book, when she was around 13 years (?) of age:




There is an account of Macbeth in H.E. Marshall's Scotland's Story



 

6 comments:

  1. I'm not very good with Shakespeare - yet! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Hi Aunty Carol,
    Thanks for coming to watch our first performance and your encouragement. Hope Benj and Moozle can join us in our next performance. I would love to perform a musical version of The Tempest :)
    Love Miss L

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    1. You're very welcome. 'Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made...' The Tempest would be fun!

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  3. My children weren't familiar with Macbeth until last year. And they asked the usual question at the beginning of the term, "Is this term's Shakespeare play a comedy or a tragedy?" When I answered, "A tragedy", I heard the usual moans, but they actually liked this play. Maybe it was the weird sisters? ;)

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    1. Ha! Yes, mine prefer the comedies - I think I do too.

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  4. This is so fun, Carol! We are adding Shakespeare into our community and I'm SO excited about it! I love that music!!! :)

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