Broad swords and Macbeth


Friday, June 29th, 2007

This morning we put a loose blocking on a couple of the big scenes from the end of the play.   This process always involves an intense discussion of the scene first. And then Josette reins us in and gets her job done. But she allows us to make offers into the process at all times, and hears all ideas, and puts them in her thinking cap. And then, I’m guessing, she talks all these things over with her amazing assistant, Ray.  Sometimes they communicate in secret in Swedish sign language. It’s great to watch them signing away, while we are working on something with Warren or Veronica. They can stay in the room and carry on a silent discussion. What a gift!

Lunch was spent with a young writer from Walrus. I hope he will forgive me, but I have forgotten his name! Terrible. Anyway, it was a fun yack. Nice to talk with someone from Canada who lives here. Shared experience is so gratifying. It was absolutely pelting rain outside, so I was happy to have brought my lunch, and to have someone new to talk to. And of course, to hear the intelligence that all the women in our group bring to our understanding of this work, and our work in general. Pretty great.

After lunch we had our first fight workshop with Allison. (At least I’m consistent with not remembering last names.) We began work with short broad swords. I think we were a little tentative after the warning that these weapons can actually kill you, and that someone had their head severed recently in a re-enactment. Yikes! That’ll bring out the girlie-girl in you in a heartbeat! So we bashed away at each other for an hour and a half, and got loosened up a little around dealing with these weapons.

A little music after the tea break, and then an early end to the day. We were all grateful, but especially the Mac/Mac women. You can really start to see their exhaustion. 

In the evening, I went to see Macbeth. Yum. God, I love the theatre!! This was an amazingly brutal production from start to finish: dark and bloody. Completely in keeping with the Jacobean sensibility of the play. It began with a sort of bloody prologue, where we saw Macbeth slaughter a room full of innocents, showing us the victorious soldier that is alluded to in the beginning of the text. From the bodies of these innocents rise the spirits of three young mothers, whose babies Macbeth has killed, and they become the witches… “when shall we three meet again…” Brilliant. And so the witches act like glue throughout the production, playing all the messengers and servants, until Macbeth is killed and they can release the souls of their dead children. 

The other thing that was made really clear in this production was Macbeth’s insomnia. Which of course ties into the Lady’s sleepwalking. But having seen Daniel Brooks’ Insomnia last year, and seeing this Macbeth struggling with nightmares of the people he has killed, and being completely delusional because of lack of sleep —  well, it made so many aspects of the text really clear. So bravos to the company, and the director, Connell Morrison. 

This is a special time for us girls from the colony Canada. A time to remember. 


One Response to “Broad swords and Macbeth”

  1. Clare Barclay Says:

    I am so thoroughly enjoying your blog that I have to tell you so. I am a reformed actor and unreformed lawyer. I am a good friend of Pam Matthews, and I and my legal partner are now thinking we will come to Stratford for the opening. I am still an unreformed theatre and history nerd and desperately want to see all 8 history plays in chronological order in March 2008. That is, I guess, if I win the lottery.

    Thank you so much for passing on the fun. Clare

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