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Macbeth Drama Review

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Dramatic Review of Macbeth
The Classical Theatre Project’s rendition of the “cursed” play is simply brilliant. In this professional production presented at the distinguished Winter Garden Theatre, Director Charles Roy delves into Macbeth through the viewpoint of modern military regimes. While each director will view Macbeth with different perspectives, Roy does an outstanding job by transforming Macbeth from a friendly hero to a Stalinesque tyrant. It is clear that the entire ensemble cast had created a production that was true to Shakespeare’s intent, true to their characters and true to our modern times.
Having watched several renditions of Macbeth in the past, I was certainly surprised when I found myself thoroughly engaged and intrigued throughout out the entire show. Opposed to other performances, I found the this play to be exceptionally well executed because of the well trained actors, unique sets, gorgeous costumes, stunning special effects and the brilliant modernization of the play.
One of the many things I specifically enjoyed was that the Witches were portrayed as nurses to fit into the modern military regime. I really enjoyed the first act in the beginning scenes when the Witches told the prophecy to Macbeth and Banquo because of how Roy added a touch of humour to that part lifting the "darkness" that typically clouds the play. One part I did not like however was the fact that the witches seemed to be not evil or mysterious unlike the text where the witches are interpreted as the “custodians of evil." Also, I thought it was kind of a shame that they took out Hecate, as personally I enjoy more supernatural factor that influences the play.
Out of all the characters in Macbeth, I found Lady Macbeth to be the most intriguing of them all, because of the fact that she transforms from this cunning deceptive manipulator to this fragile unstable figure. While the entire cast was clearly adept at playing their roles, Lauren Dobbie’s outlandish performance of Lady Macbeth was most remarkable. Having seen Lauren Dobbie perform as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet a few years ago, I was able to compare her acting between both roles, and I believe that she was enabled by the unique character of Lady Macbeth and production team to give a superb performance. One of my favourite scenes would have to be from the Act 5 Scene 1 when Lady Macbeth is unconsciously acknowledging to planning the death of Duncan and several others. Dobbie gave a very intense and strong performance by truly being very expressive with her emotions.
One of the key directorial choices I have noticed is that fact that Roy decided to include a scene which shows Macbeth killing the king. This is very rare in Macbeth’s plays because in the past the Shakespeare had written this play for the King of England to watch, and it would be preposterous to show a king a play that has a scene in which one kills a king! While modern times are much different, several directors tend not to show the killing of the king because it had just became the norm. Roy has also altered the scene by having Macbeth fight Duncan instead of having Macbeth kill Duncan while he is sleeping. This is a crucial change as it will alter the Macbeth’s development as a character because in the original play he kills Duncan in his sleep; he is typically viewed as a pusillanimous man whilst in the rendition he is, in my opinion, more of a forthright man.
Another directorial choice that I thought was notable was the executive decision to include the audience in the porter scene. In this scene, Shakespeare’s intent was to use the Porter to provide comedic relief after the cowardly killing in the previous scene. The Porter in this rendition of Macbeth actually interacts with the audience which I thought was great. The Classical Theatre Project knowing they would be performing for youth had specifically added this just to engage the audience.
Regarding the directorial choices of usage of lines, speech patterns and omission of characters, I found that Roy had designed the play to have a mix of both modern English and Early Modern English which I thought was quite fascinating. All of the important lines were in Early Modern English while some non-important lines were typically said in modern English just to simplify the play for the audience. I also noticed how Donalbain was exempt from the play. While I don’t know for certain the reason, I can only assume that he was taken out because his character was just redundant because of Malcolm.
A specific character portrayal that I found to be different from the book was Ross. In the book Ross had was only portrayed as a messenger that delivers important news to the main characters, how in the rendition, Ross had assisted in the killing of Lady Macbeth and her son. This change I did not particularly like because, while Ross is still a relatively minor character, this changes his role as a messenger and differs from my topical analysis of the text. I observed that the stagecraft, costumes, and special effects were all very professional. Since the cast had a high-budget, they had absolutely fantastic costumes being able to purchase brand name clothing and even buying a pair of shoes for 2000 dollars from Louis Vuitton! Personally, I thought the stagecraft was all very fascinating and well done, especially during the scene when Macbeth meets Banquo’s Ghost, observing the synergetic use of both sound and lighting to create a perfect scene leading into the intermission. I also thought it was very creative of the set designer, Care Robertson, to incorporate several acts with the use of just a few props and backdrops. Regarding the special effects, I thought that flashing the important lines in black and white on the backdrop while the characters were reciting it created a very extraordinary effect. For example “unsex me here” was flashed onto the backdrop while Lady Macbeth said it, and I found that it really put emphasis on that particular line in her soliloquoy. As a whole, I thought The Classical Theatre Project did an ingenious job on developing the play to resemble the way Shakespeare’s had intended it. I enjoyed the play very much and congratulate Roy and creating such a creative rendition of Macbeth.

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