It’s going to be a busy weekend full of drama and romance. Tonight we’re going to see the American Shakespeare Center touring troop perform “Macbeth,” and tomorrow, “Sense and Sensibility,” which I presume is an adaptation of the Jane Austin novel. I may overdose on art!
“Macbeth” is probably my favorite Shakespeare play, although I’ve never seen a really good performance. The film versions I’ve seen are simply dreadful. For some reason, the play invites overproduction and overacting. From Orson Welles’ spiky, “statue of Liberty” crown
and Roman Polanski’s naked, sleepwalking Lady Macbeth,
to Sean Pertwee’s inexplicable post-apocalyptic interpretation,
actors and directors tend to go overboard.
Without question, the best version to date is Kurosawa’s wonderful “Throne of Blood”, but let’s remember that it’s a retelling, not Shakespeare.
I suspect that sometimes the exotic, foreign factor colors our perception. Would the film be as great in English? I doubt it. I’m still waiting for a really excellent Macbeth, though admittedly I haven’t seen all that many performances.
Judging from the PR stills, tonight’s production isn’t going to buck the trend. Let’s be honest. These witches look like something out of a bad High School play.
And blow-dried Macbeth doesn’t inspire confidence either.
Let’s put it down to an over-eager PR photographer and give them the benefit of the doubt. My past experience with the ASC has been quite positive, so I’ll reserve judgment and get back to you.
Maybe Macbeth is just one of those plays that is better read than performed. Have you ever seen a great Macbeth?