We’ve talked about Shakespeare sequels here before. So how about Macbeth? Seriously.
“About five years ago there were a lot of productions of Macbeth,” Greig recalls. “And I remember thinking, ‘This is interesting because obviously it is to a certain extent a response to the fact that we’re at war.’ And yet Macbeth is a play about the toppling of a tyrant. It seemed to me that the interesting story was what happened after you toppled the tyrant.
The same could be said of all the tragedies – what of Fortinbras? Or Albany? Surely none of the tragedies truly have a neat ending.
The more he worked on the story, the more vivid the 11th-century world became. The play focuses on Siward’s genuine impulse to help but it also envisages the aftermath of a war from the viewpoint of those who have been liberated.
Like all war-themed theatre these days, the parallels to Iraq and Afghanistan are deliberate and obvious. Personally that turns me off,but I may be in the minority there. I don’t read Shakespeare and ask what the political climate was when he wrote it, so I don’t want to sit through modern theatre wondering the same thing.
Dunsinane opens on February 17, Hampstead Theatre, London,www.hampsteadtheatre.com