Macbeth: 9 Scenes Rehearsed

26 Apr

I’ve always thought of Macbeth as the epitome of the crime and punishment story. Macbeth and his wife do horrible, horrible things and so horrible, horrible things happen to them.

For this reason, I’ve often wondered at the presence of the weird sisters. They seem unnecessary, perhaps just a tantalizing tit-bit thrown in to please Shakespeare’s patron, James I, a self appointed expert in matters witchy.

Macbeth: 9 Scenes Rehearsed consists of scenes chosen from the play’s twenty odd scenes, and there’s an interesting focus on the sisters. They’re played with an extraordinary presence by Erica J Brennan, Kate Cooper and Fiona Green. This production is described as “an experiment in the application of the Suzuki Method of Actor Training.” This method has a strong focus on disciplined physical training. Its impact on the presentation of the weird sisters is to give them a reality that, for the first time, helped me understand their purpose in the play.

A rehearsal shot

A rehearsal shot

The crime and punishment reading of Macbeth has an inexorable logic: do evil and you will suffer evil. A sort of cold karma. But would evil be so common if its dangers were so obvious? This production’s weird sisters shine a dreadful darkness on the dilemma.* They’re an awe-inspiring presence beyond, and below, mundane experience, a nightmarish reminder of the turbidity of the human heart. The scene where Macbeth visits the weird sisters “to know by the worst means the worst” features the entire ensemble, and is brilliant, evoking true horror.

Despite being only nine scenes, the production is a very satisfying rendition of the story. The men in the ensemble (Grant Moxom, Gideon Payten-Griffiths and David Buckley) share the role of Macbeth, as the women do with his wife. This is intriguing in the comparisons it offers, but also thought provoking in its subliminal suggestion of the universality of the characters.

Director Shy Magsalin’s application of the Suzuki Method (to which I claim no expertise**) has created an evening of theatre that is beautiful to watch and bewitching to listen to.

Part of the Old 505’s invaluable Freshworks season, this is fascinating stuff.

Veronica Kaye


*Yes, I’m working the whole “fair is foul, foul is fair” conceit.

**I claim no expertise in any acting method. Or, indeed, anything else.


Macbeth: 9 Scenes Rehearsed

at The Old 505 Theatre til 27 April

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