Monday, October 4, 2010

The Even Battle Between Good and Evil

I went to the Macbeth play last Wednesday for my event this week. I had read the play during high school and had to make my own modern interpretation of the play. It was a funny project, where a few of my friends and I made the whole situation about different people trying to have the highest score on Guitar Hero. McSlash (MacBeth) and McSlayer (MacDuff) ultimately battled it out, after the three Stoner Sisters told McSlash someone not born of a woman would kill him. After doing this presentation, I became very fond of Shakespeare and his works. Of course, when I found out I could go see a Shakespeare play as one of my events, I immediately knew this would be an event I would attend; especially Macbeth.

I thought the American Shakespeare Center really tried to cater to their college student audience. For example, the bumper stickers they were selling outside had the phrase: “We do it with the lights on”, an obvious innuendo about sex. It was relatively awkward, because I noticed some of the actors were attempting to flirt with audience members, probably trying to do anything to get us to buy things they were selling. The actors really tried to sell the fact that they were here for a college audience, including some extremely sexually surged situations between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. I thought it was interesting that they were trying to sell sex to a Jesuit institution, seeing as that isn't exactly something that should be permitted by the Jesuits.

Although there were a few aspects of their company that were bit over the top, I really liked the set up of their performance. For example, they had seating on stage and would engage those people occasionally during the performance. Also, there were only a handful of actors playing all of the roles. This allowed the audience to see these actors portraying different people, occasionally having women dress up as men, and men dress up as women. I thought that was interesting because there were enough actors to have men play men, and women play women, but the American Shakespeare Center chose the roles on purpose to show the different parts that these actors could play. Another thing the actors did during the play was stare directly at people in the audience. At one point, I found one of the actors telling me some of the lines. I think they did that in order to personalize the experience for each and every member of the audience, which makes the play extremely powerful.

Gerard Manley Hopkins’s Christian God of “God’s Grandeur” can be contrasted to the Weird Sisters of Macbeth because of spirituality. According to the Christian belief, witches use the power of the devil to rule the world. Throughout Macbeth, there is a sense of destiny and prophecy, all brought about by these three witches and their leader, Hecate, who just happens to be a Goddess of Witches. The abundance of the spirits can be comparable to the abundance of God in Hopkins’s poem, where His grandeur “gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil crushed” (lines 3-4). Hopkins's confidence of God's grandeur can be contrasted with a play like Macbeth which is so surged with witchcraft. I think it shows that there is an even battle between good and evil, regardless of the time period. God will always be present, however evil and the devil will also be present.

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