They’re Going to Ruin Macbeth

Damn you, Gandalph ‘Too Many Names’ Mantooth and your thought provoking post!

So, it turns out that I’m a snob, I guess, in that I just cannot get over the fact that the first play the Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s Shakespeare in the Park is doing is some kind of anime version of Macbeth.

Macbeth is one of my favorite plays because, first of all, it’s got witches and ghosts.  It’s got prophecies that come true and all kinds of cool shit like that. 

It’s set at an intriguing time–at the beginning of the play you’ve got Macbeth and Banquo returning from fighting off the forces of the Irish and the Norse (which is not surprising, considering that the Norse founded Dublin.  Well, fuck wasn’t the real Macbeth alive during Knute’s reign in England?) when who do they stumble into but the Weird sisters?  Who were the goddess of fate in Norse tradition?  The Weird sisters.

God, this is just what I love about this play.  You just start following threads and they lead such interesting places.

Think about how gender works in the play, where you have the men doing things and the women manipulating events.  Is it any surprise then that we see the Norse goddesses of fate–imagined as witches–show up to set in motion the events that will insure the tragedy among the men who have defeated the armies loyal to them?

Anyway, I’m all for performances of Macbeth.  I’m not all for making the play family friendly and cutting out the violence.  I’m worried that setting it in some vaguely Japanese setting will make it more like The Mikado than Macbeth.

Still, I’ll probably go see it anyway.


5 thoughts on “They’re Going to Ruin Macbeth

  1. Heh.And they are also doing Akiro Kurosawa’s Samarai 7 as anime on IFC. And there are always a bunch of transformers that fight Tokoyo crime. And other things I’m sure, but I really don’t have any idea because I don’t pay as much attention as I shouldPersonally, I do like Cowboy Bebop.

  2. Loooong ago, when i was about 10, my overly-cultured grandmother took me to a series of avant-garde movies at the local museum. One of them was a version of Macbeth done, in black & white, in Japan, with subtitles, and all set in the samurai culture. Obviously it made a HUGE impression on me, as I still remember the outrageous weirdness of it (although not much else, except for battles with huge storms of arrows.) I didn’t have any real knowledge of the original Macbeth at the time; all I knew was that it was Shakespeare and originally done in English poetry by guys in tights. So it showed me the power of arrangement – how very much you can warp, change, mutate a play or piece of music, and so create all kinds of allusions, connections, puns and othr things that, whether the arrangement is ultimately any good or not, provoke thought.Cheers!

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