Friday, September 24, 2010

Patrick Stewart as Macbeth - Oct 6, on PBS

I'd like to come up with a snappier title for this exciting news, but I'm going to be out of town and thus I'm rather jealous.  We all saw Patrick Stewart and David Tennant do Hamlet earlier this year (well, on television. Those of us not lucky enough to see the live version).  Now we get to do it again, this time with Stewart's Macbeth, which will be previewed on PBS October 6.

They've got a preview up:

It looks .... weird. I get a strange sort of "Sweeney Todd" vibe, and I'm not sure why.

No word yet on whether Stewart also plays the ghost of Banquo ;).   (Inside joke).  But I swear, if he shrugs when Macduff says that he was from his mother's womb untimely ripped, I'm taking him down.

Seriously, this is awesome and I will no doubt DVR it (I'll be on a cruise for my anniversary that week).  What I will miss that was so fun the first time was "live tweeting" it.  Some geeks do it for award shows, some for sports events. Shakespeare geeks? We live tweet PBS Great Performances.  I feel like Frasier Crane's brother Niles for some reason.

Anyway, set your DVR now so you don't forget!


JM said...

But I swear, if he shrugs when Macduff says that he was from his mother's womb untimely ripped, I'm taking him down.

LOL --Not if I get there first. :)

Andrea said...

I saw Patrick Stewart play Macbeth live in London 3 years ago. It was different, but excellent. I also saw Macbeth at the Globe in London and at the Utah Shakespearean Festival this summer. All were fabulous and different from each other. I just started rehearsals for Macbeth with my elementary age kids today and I get to do my own version. I'm so excited!

Wayne Myers said...

I just watched the just-released Rupert Goold "Macbeth" DVD with Patrick Stewart in the title role and Kate Fleetwood as Lady Macbeth. I don't know if the following point has been covered elsewhere on this site, but here it is.

There were a lot of great moments in the film production, but the choice Kate Fleetwood made in playing Lady Macbeth's fainting was, for me, not the best choice, although I understand why she played it that way. In the Goold production, Macbeth is trying (not too convincingly) to explain away his killing of the blood-smeared grooms to Macduff and the others following Duncan's murder, and Fleetwood's Lady pretends to faint to get her husband out of the situation. It works.

There is an argument whether Lady Macbeth's fainting is pretense (as Fleetwood's was) or whether it is genuine. I've always thought it was the latter, as it marks the beginning of the end for Lady Macbeth's sanity on the way to her sleepwalking scene. I just think that for all her "unsex me" bravado, she's the one first to crack under the strain, and very quickly, too, with the unanticipated scope of the horrors too much for her. This is not to say that Fleetwood's choice was not effective--only that I've not seen a version that has a better choice than where the fainting is played as genuine.

JM said...

My only questions about this production have had to do with the decision to "embrace the evil". Stewart apparently drew a line where he no longer struggles with it but revels in it. He stated as much in an interview. I think it made me feel less empathy than can otherwise be felt for the pair. And with the things they're responsible for, as tragic figures they need every opportunity they can muster to evoke that empathy. The sanity of both, and how that effects their decision-making, should always be in question in my opinion. The opportunities are there throughout in HOW the moments are played. I think you found another place where the decision made was for Lady M. to do just the opposite. Not necessarily 'wrong', as you say, but for my money less effective toward the establishment of a tragic figure.