I read Shakespeare’s Macbeth my senior year of high school and it was definitely one of the more enjoyable stories I read throughout the four years. Let me say however that honestly, I am usually not one for plays or the performing arts. For the last ten years I have had to sit through my sister’s ballet recitals that involve no speaking and last an average of three hours. While I am aware that not all performing arts are like this, I would be lying if I said that it did not leave a bad taste in my mouth. With that said, I have all the respect in the world for everyone involved and I would also like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the performance that took place in McManus Theater at 7pm, Wednesday September 29th.
The stage was set in a way that I had never witnessed before. Thrust seating was used (Shakespeare used this style of seating during his time) which meant that I was able to sit on the actual stage. It added an illustrious element to the experience because of the interaction that could be made between the actors and the audience. Also, the lights were left on, which made the play more powerful in a way. The actors were able to look into the eyes of audience members and I felt they were able to deliver their roles with a greater passion and meaning. Macbeth is definitely a play of intense drama and unexpected turnaround. The atmosphere that the set gave had a huge role in the success of the play in my opinion.
Macbeth starts off with the characters Macbeth and Banquo returning from war. They come across three witches that tell Macbeth he will be named Thane of Cawdor, and eventually the King of Scotland. Quickly after this prophecy was made, Macbeth was indeed named Thane of Cawdor, which had him thinking more and more about the throne. After telling his wife about his newfound knowledge, he was convinced by her to kill King Duncan. This lead to the both of them not being able to sleep, feeling awful, shedding more blood and eventually falling to their demise.
After discussing Elizabeth Gilbert’s One Word, our class was asked to think of their own word for the following session. While it may have proved to be difficult for some, Macbeth would have had no trouble finding his. Macbeth would have shared with us that his word was “megalomania.” Why megalomania? Well Merriam-Webster would diagnose him with a “delusional mental disorder that is marked with feelings of personal omnipotence and grandeur.” Macbeth was indeed delusional, he definitely had a mental disorder, and absolutely felt like he was a man tailored for power after the prophecies made by the three crazy witches. Because of his megalomania, the death of his best friend, his wife, and ultimately himself was all a direct cause of the greed and envy for power he so dearly coveted.
The American Shakespeare Center offered me a completely different experience than my sister’s dance school, American Repertory Ballet annually does. While it was because it is a different type of performing arts or not, there is no question that they did a grand job. The story told was one that had to be told with passion and incredible ability. To be able to be successful in delivering a play of this magnitude, upper echelon actors had to play the parts of these characters, especially the roles Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The American Shakespeare Center turned a night that I was indifferent about into quite an enjoyable event and I will definitely be on the lookout for their next act.