This week Macbeth comes to a local PBS station near you. I have gushed about this play several times before here – and now I will again.
The filmed version of this Shakespearean play about ambition, greed and madness stars Patrick Stewart (always a theater actor, but, now perhaps best known from “Star Trek: Next Generation”). I saw him in the staged production on Broadway last year and loved it.
The action has been moved out of its original time and into 30’s/40’s war torn Scotland. Most of the original text remains, even with the modern presentation, but it all works anyway. (Towards the end of the play when Macbeth, ready to fight to the death, calls out, “Bring me my armor” – instead of a helmet and metal breast plate, he is fitted with a army issue “flak” jacket and machine gun. By this time, the audience was so wrapped up in it all, it didn’t matter.)
It may not be considered as deep and layered as Shakespeare’s Hamlet or King Lear, but Macbeth is so much fun. It has 3 witches, 8 ghosts plus, a “moving” forest and a man with a violent birth. Both Macbeth and his Lady wreak havoc as they totally embrace their baser nature and eventually self destruct. You are grabbed from the first scene and it won’t let you go until that pesky forest starts to inch forward, (I hope I haven’t given too much away) This is drama!
It is a rousing, rambunctious, and riveting tale of misdeeds, murder and mayhem. (Yes, I’m showing off- I love alliteration.)
Macbeth, William Shakespeare: PBS Great Performances (check local listings)