Look you, and behold, and be afraid. 'Tis my 17 fellows, brothers and sisters and bloody conspirators who did enact upon the misty Pennsylvanian night the story of a Scot gone wrong, and his "fiendlike queen"; of Weird Sisters of suburban upbringing, who did paint themselves green and toss dry ice chips into their smoky abyss, conjuring hell's breath under thundrous skies; of the righteous Thane of Fife and his 'venging blade; of feckless murderers and their noble victim; of falsely accused princes, their betrayéd father's corpse still warm as they flew to British haven; of ghosts of kings yet to be; of a red-painted set and and an uplit entrance; of lavender filter and duelling tartan; of that fleet flicker of theatrical elementasia, burning a bardic nova for an hour and 45, with a snack of whole-wheat cheddar bunnies at the Interval.
Direct Shakespeare? I asked myself. Why not take a risk. The play's the thing, after all, even after I spent two merciless nights with the red pen, Sweeny Todd-style, slicing entire scenes, chunks of scenes, even gutting individual speeches. It was literary surgery, and as I dug out Macbeth's extra flesh, I fretted it would still be too long.
|The noble Banquo, back from the grave to stir things up.|
|Just a few ladies in the woods doing God's work...|
It's these little tastes of truth, if you will, that sew together the gossamer quiltwork that is live theatre. The scene above could only happen on this night, with the actors holding nothing back, and only when the rains permitted it, having cleared up just hours prior. Costume, makeup, the sound effect of whistling wind, lighting, haze, dry ice, artists.
|Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow|
And truth was also achieved with much less hoopla. The quiet truth of Ernesto Renda, for example, who brought humility and a measured pride to the title role, one of the most ambitious in the canon.
|Lady Mac, near her end.|
|Lay on, Macduff!|
|Malcolm exults in the birth of a new Scotland|