Sunday, October 17, 2010

Zizka's Macbeth

What I liked best about The Wilma's Macbeth:  the reversal of roles by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth after their murder of Duncan was the clearest I've ever seen. I'd not noticed before that Mac makes essentially the same prayer that Lady M does earlier, and that when he does, she then realize the enormity of their crime.  I also like the meeting of MacDuff and Malcolm in England.  I imagine this 'England' is what America looks like from the perspective of post-war Czechoslovakia. Director Blanka Zizka takes brilliant advantage of mis en scene.

And the wall-walking witches are terrific.

I didn't care for the speech style that Zizka chose and I suspect she learned different lessons than I would have from the Cicely Berry workshop on verse speaking the company did with the RSC's Andrew Wade (I did a one-day workshop in Portland with Wade; the Macbeth company did a week.)  I found irritating the over-pronunciation of consonants, especially "t"s (they all seemed to be exploded, which didn't make sense to me,) and I grew frustrated with the largely unvarying pitch and tempo--the pace of most of the show was deadly steady--but in fairness I heard other audience members say that they appreciated the clarity and understood every word spoken.  For me, the delivery was pedantic.  It sacrificed too much color and personality, too much theater.

But, I liked more about The Wilma's Macbeth than I disliked.  It's recognizably, for good and bad, a Wilma show, and I appreciate the Wilma's aesthetic, which makes up in originality and creativity what it loses by self-consciousness.

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