Sunday, November 6, 2022


 So, today Janice and  I and friend Jeff made our way down to the Armory in the Seattle Center* to see MacBeth, perhaps my favorite Shakespeare.* I'd seen it three times before, I think, and this was by far the best performance. It's a matter of deep personal satisfaction that I finally got to see the ghost. The other stagings all dropped Banquo's appearance at the banquet, instead having MacBest react to various blank spots on the stage. Several film versions make the same cuts, unfortunately. I'd always thought from reading the play that having the audience see what MacBeth sees wd be more effective, and I now feel I was right.  Indeed, they added a new ghost: that of Lady MacBeth, who puts in a silent, chilling appearance before her husband, just as he is receiving word of her (offstage) death.

As for the performances, Banquo was outstanding. Lady MacBeth was very, very good. A standout performance in a second tier role was Lord Ross, who comes across as a reasonable man in a time of tyranny. The witches were a little low-key. The one performance among the major characters that I thought a bit lacking was MacBeth himself.

As an added bonus, we ran into our friend Allan (a former Mithlonder***) at the interval and again after the performance.

Aside from having to wear a mask, a good experience, and one that encourages us to take in more of their plays this year as opportunity offers. 


--current reading: BABEL

*the old 1962 World's Fair ground.

**though AS YOU LIKE IT is a competitor, and Hamlet close behind.

***from back when Mithlond was still meeting on a semi-regular basis.


David Bratman said...

I've seen productions in which Banquo makes a physical appearance at the banquet. The actor is hooded in amongst the crowds at the table, and then unveils and displays himself when Macbeth sees the ghost.

John D. Rateliff said...

So, David
SInce you have the first hand experience to draw upon, which do you think better: with the ghost or without? Or are there simply too many factors in play to make a generalization?

--John R.

David Bratman said...

It can work well both ways. If the ghost is physically present, he's got to be totally inconspicuous until Macbeth sees him. This is particularly tricky in that he appears twice. But there is some marvelous stagecraft out there.