Nicolas Munoz & Iliana Ortega
Bayard Rustin Educational Complex
EnterMacbeth : The tale of a soldier with too much ambition who rises to the top, becomes blinded by his success and eventually faces his downfall. Macbeth, the protagonist of the play, is a general in the King's army. After a successful battle, Macbeth and his friend Banquo wander the countryside, where they meet three witches. These witches are vital in the story of the play, as throughout they prophesize what Macbeth's future holds. Macbeth's ambition, coupled with the witches' telling of the future, drive him to commit several crimes to ensure his rise to the top of the social pillar. As we see throughout the play, he becomes haunted by these acts, and plagued by the prophecies of the witches.
Two friends, Nick and Iliana, attended this Broadway production together. Here they discuss (and at times argue) about the show and their opinions.
Iliana: I felt that the concept of this production of Macbeth was a good idea, but it was poorly executed. They got caught up with modernizing the play; it was easy to get lost, and not know what the actors were actually trying to communicate. If you want to modernize the play, perhaps then the same should be done to the script.
Nick: I can agree with you there. However, I found the modern elements made the play more enticing than ever. The blood, the action and the visuals were enough to captivate the viewers and hold our attention. It is one thing to read about a play, but to see the bloodshed, and to see actors performing hallucinations, gives you a whole new experience.
Iliana: I think that Shakespeare purists wouldn't enjoy the play, because most of them would gasp in horror that the setting was changed. The set design was something out of an old-school horror film. It looked as if it were the basement of a hospital, or perhaps a morgue, with large sinks and metal slabs along with a very slow and noisy elevator. Traditionally the set would have looked like something from its corresponding time period in the 1600s, and in Macbeth's case it would have taken place in a castle.
Nick: I think that it was about time that they did something new to Shakespeare; this way it can appeal more to younger audiences. The same old thing over the years can get boring, and this puts a whole new spin on everything. The technology was amazing, and the use of the witches was unique. Traditionally they would be ugly, with more masculine features such as long beards and excessive hair. In this version the witches reminded me of the nurses from Silent Hill. There was no excessive hair or ugly features. In fact, the witches looked normal in terms of feminine features. They had a greater impact on me than the ones when I just read the script in school. This is Shakespeare as you have never seen it before.
Iliana: I would agree with you on the fact that this play can also appeal to younger audiences. I really liked the set design, and how it looked desolate, as if the background could be customized to fit the necessities of the corresponding scene.
Nick: I wasn't really too fond of the set, because of the fact that it was so barren and desolate. What I did like were the white walls, which allowed for the play to contain multimedia. The projections occurred mostly while the witches were performing. They were very intriguing, and they were one of my, if not my most, favorite things in the play.
Iliana: I liked how they illustrated Macbeth's descent into madness by showing the audience the manifestation of Macbeth's guilt at both the end of the first act and the beginning of the second act. They ended the first act with the vision of his friend Banquo, and Macbeth's frightened reaction to seeing this ghost. In the beginning of the second act, Banquo doesn't actually appear when they reenact it; instead the audience realizes that Banquo was something imagined by Macbeth. This proves how good of an actor Patrick Stewart (from Star Trek and X-Men) is, for he performed as if he was truly undergoing the vision a second time, minus the theatrics.
Nick: That was really genius, as it was such a bloody scene. The blood really set the mood, and the reflection of it on the wall was a symbol of Macbeth's guilty conscience weighing on him. The music used throughout the play also served to set the mood. I really liked how the director used all of these different methods to attract the viewer's attention.
Macbeth by William Shakespeare. • $26.50 student rush. • Lyceum Theatre, 149 W. 45 St.
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