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Macbeth: Betrayal, Blood and Regicide?

By Gian Ellis-Gannell and Nicola Rakuljic

On the 22nd of June, Loreto Year 10 students travelled to the Riverside Theatre to view the Jove Theatre Company’s production of Macbeth. The haunting play captured the true essence of the story, and left Year 10 with a newfound understanding of the 1606 masterpiece.

“Macbeth was a very emotional and engaging play. It successfully drew the attention of the audience and conveyed the play in a highly skilled way” - Helena Liu, Year 10

For the most part, the production stuck to Shakespeare’s writing of Macbeth, however there was one notable difference. Banquo, Macbeth’s friend, was played by a woman instead of a man. It was a modern take on the character, and was a directors choice that ended up making Banquo very believable as a ‘warrior’ woman. Interestingly, the witches also did not circle a cauldron as was traditional, but rather a young boy, whom they pretended to amuse and play games with in their famous main scene. They were not sinister old hags, but motherly. This modernised take on the story allowed the decisions made to seem less motivated by the paranormal, and more through sheer human will.

The set was elaborate and extensive in its detail, with genuine, thick timber on a slant and constant dark and eerie lighting creating an atmosphere of tension. Each character walked onto the set through the sides and the back of the stage, which made them visible through long, translucent curtains. There were also trapdoors hidden beneath the timber of the set that allowed characters to pop in and out of the scene at various points during the play.

Near the back of the stage, there was a large rectangular hole, where the Wyrd Sisters would make their exits, which shocked the whole audience when they first saw an actor jump off stage and land hidden and without a sound. Both the trap doors and under the stage were used by the actors to represent death and hell or the underworld.

The actors using the stage were well-practiced, and moved through the play without a fault. As an ensemble, majority of the cast played multiple characters, a tricky technique to get right without confusing the audience. However, due to their skill and fast costume changes, this was not an issue. Additionally to this, a short symposium in which the actors and directors took questions after the play was extremely useful and clarified any uncertainty.

This effective stage, along with the actors mastery of language ensured that the audience was gripped by the story, and became engrossed in the events. It enthralled, shocked, and cast a transfixed spell on the students present from beginning to end.

The tale was a tragedy of caution that ultimately left you wondering who was really to blame for the murderous and grim events.

"Seeing Shakespeare’s Macbeth come to life on stage offered our students the invaluable opportunity to experience the tragedy first hand before grappling with the text this term."
"The post-performance symposium with the actors was particularly insightful as the girls were able to engage with the choices both actors and directors make to best represent their interpretation of the characters and ideas in the play." -Ms Conn


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