A Forum for and the Background of the Mediation of Dialogue in Ancient and Modern Academies

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Kenneth Branagh's Macbeth and Some Footnotes

If you can look into the seeds of time
And say which grain will grow and which will not,
Speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear
Your favours nor your hate.

A Thane to the Witches, in the Tragedy of Macbeth, Act I, Scene III, 60-3.

She should have died hereafter:
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time:
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle.
Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth immediately after his wife's death, Act V, Scene V, 18-28.
(Just think that these words and acts are acted in a Church. So they were.)

Do not miss this performance, if you find a ticket before it is sold-out. In Manchester, it took only nine minutes. Up to now, I would not place Branagh's beside the greatest performances/films of Shakespeare's plays, his very careful and respectful work notwithstanding. But in this case, he does a fantastic job. Do not miss Branagh's and Ashford's collaboration (they co-direct), to be experienced in NYC in the coming summer. Besides, the performance in St. Peter's Church in Manchester will keep on being broadcasted at cinemas all over the world. As for Hamlet, I will patiently wait for Daniel Day-Lewis, as said, to nail the role, again, if he decides to return to this character. One wasted evening at a London theatre for Hamlet was the last experiment.

Footnote I: A very good Beckett, Waiting for Godot, (Tabori's direction, conducted 2006, with the same actors still, a bit older by now), at the Berliner Ensemble, is worth mentioning, even if not the cultural highlight. To be sincere, I cannot follow Tabori when he says he detects pathology in Beckett. I mean, what should we then say about Tennessee Williams' work?! In all the plays of Beckett, I welcome a theorist on stage, a theorist deeply interested in analyzing time experience and conducting thought experiments in order to get to the core of things and to the essence of human nature. As for the wit, one of the finest.

Footnote II: I very much welcome innovative and refreshing directions of classical works of art. To confine myself to the opera: I have to utter nothing against depicting the witches of Macbeth (in Verdi's Macbeth in this case, Berlin Deutsche Oper, direction: Götz Friedrich) as ladies cleaning the Berlin Wall in the communist period; and there have been some wonderful moments, some pauses of the chorus in Wagner's Parsifal, directed by Phillipp Stölzl, which seemed to be co-directed by Caravaggio (Deutsche Oper Berlin). But sometimes, I end up meditating too long on what the directors want to point at, and what the symbol they choose stands for, which may jeopardise nothing less than the experience of the work of art in itself. We can lively discuss and hotly debate about staging Macbeth in a Church, but when Don Giovanni is running through a forest during the entire opera of Mozart (so is the case at the Staatsoper im Schiller Theater, direction Claus Guth), I just do not get it, pardon me. The worst of all was that this prolonged rumination almost disturbed my concentrating on the delight of Villazón's voice, among others'. It is a relief, though, that pure pleasures, even when impeded, are not left incomplete.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home