Thursday, May 08, 2008

the scottish play

the scottish play
Originally uploaded by suttonhoo.
A few brief thoughts about the Scottish Play headlined by Patrick Stewart (oh hell: Macbeth. We saw Macbeth. This isn't a theatre. I can say it.) which I caught last night at the Lyceum with @karigee, because there isn't time enough to write up something thorough and thoughtful -– it was too big, and any approach I might make is heavily saddled with former English Major baggage, and I have to be at a meeting in half an hour.

So here it is:
  • The sitcom Friends gets a lot of credit for introducing brief episodic scenes into the dramatic narrative. Shakespeare did it first.

  • I thought this was a play about ambition. The director Rupert Goold wants me to know that it's about tyranny and tyrants and, maybe?, George W. Bush. And he's right. And I'm ready to rally against it.

  • The thing of a play is: it must be inhabited. The life that is brought to this play through the blocking, through the body language, through the acting -– always and again I'm astonished by how powerful dramatic action can be. When it's well done.

  • There's such a huge and clear difference between a mediocre Shakespearean actor and an accomplished Shakespearean actor. When a player can deliver that language with all the naturalism of breathing -- like Stewart did last night -- there's nothing better. It's potable poetry.

  • Devastated by the scene where Macduff learns of his family's fate. Reminds me of the Henry production in Chicago -- the scene with Hotspur and his wife. How often did Shakespeare do this with the antagonist -– infuse them with a humanity that brings the big themes into startling focus? Making it all manageable. Evoking such compassion.

  • Lady Macbeth: I wasn't your fan in the first Act, but now that you're washing out those spots I'm all yours. Such pure, believable madness.

  • And, right: How old is Patrick Stewart again? Damn he's hot in those boots.

Posting by cameraphone from Union Square in NYC.


I, Rodius said...

It was a moment of awakening for me when I saw Kenneth Branagh's Henry V and realized that Sheakespearean language can actually be spoken in such a way that it makes sense. I will now forever love Bardolph. Why English classes sit around taking turns reading it aloud I'll never know. Joe Schmoe in my fifth period English class just can't quite make it come alive properly.

Kari said...

I love that "Henry V"! A beautiful film. I'm also partial to Al Pacino's "Looking for Richard," which is only bits and pieces of the thing itself, but a clever way of getting at the insides, I thought.

Anyway, thanks for the lovely night. Perfect all around, except for the sad news about that salad... Next time we'll try Joe Allen's.

anniemcq said...

Patrick Stewart. Yum.

Make it so.

I would love to see him in this.

My one regret as a former actor is that I never did Shakespeare. In college I was too drilled with the whole iambic pentameter stuff, instead of just saying the words clearly and with intent. That makes it move.

Maybe someday, when you and I are in the assisted living facility and they do "As You Like It", you can be Rosalind and I can be Celia!

So glad you got to hang out with Ms. Kari, too!

bobcat rock said...

Another beautiful posting. Thanks for sharing your latest adventure! By the way, Patrick Stewart is 68 this year... (A simple google - a modest tithe for such a lovely blog).

Macbeth has always been my favourite Shakespearean play. Have you ever see "Macbeth On The Estate", btw? Ray Winstone as Duncan. Enough said. A classic production of a classic play. oh, and serialised on youtube, it seems... That reminds me – I think I’ve still got it on VHS somewhere…

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