Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Macbeth : A review

The new play by Cheek by Jowl is a modern adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth.
But how can you modernize such a classic? The director Declan Donnellan expressed this mostly through a meagre set and simple costumes. The set as everyone would imagine for a Shakespearian play was simply not there. No castle, no forest, there was nothing on the stage except for a black curtain and some wooden boxes. And also the costumes were not the opulent ones that everyone had in mind, but just black robes. Even though these elements clearly added a sense of mystery to the whole play, they made it hard to follow the plot and to identify the characters. Moreover nearly every actor had to play more than one part and as the play was performed in Shakespearian English, it was necessary to read the French supertitles.
However the actors' performances were expressive and made quite an impression. The interpretation of the monologues, when all the other characters stood still while the monologue was presented was particularly remarkable. Lady Macbeth's role was equally delightful, even though it was sometimes difficult to understand her. However she still managed to let the audience feel her ambition and finally her madness.
All in all, this modern adaption of Shakespeare was not bad, but in my opinion, plays should be played like they were intended to be, i.e. with suitable costumes and so on.

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