Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Not in the worst rank of manhood...

Once the crown is set on Mackers head, in blazing theatre speed, after Duncan's murder, the question nearly immedietaly becomes how to keep it there, as he himself indicates, with safety. There is no interim in which to enjoy the royalty presented to him, no time for peace and appeasement and any kind of reconciliation, before he must weild his grave authority and become that which he may have perhaps sought to avoid with assumption of that golden round.

In some rehearsal or other I became aware of the hypocrisy of the crown and viscrelly felt a disgust to the clothes and jewelry I was wearing. It seemed that there were daggers in the smiles of my courtiers, that they might actually be seeing through this duplicity, and nearly every word of mine becomes loaded with qualification and inquest.

Banquo's eradication seems the most obvious and clear path to a new equilibrium with the additional weight of the crown upon his head. Of course, Banquo's murder is the fourth murder of the play, or at least the fourth that is known to the audience, so there is a bit of irony underlying the statement "There is none but he, whose being I do fear..." Its almost a laughable comment, and perhaps in the next run or so, I could even second guess the statement by giving the audience a suspicious look. Indeed it is NOT just he whose being I do fear. Or at least his being I do fear only for the present, who knows what tomorrow may bring. Well, my point is that this seeming final and last step towards stability is futile, and perhaps even self-conciously indefinite.

This paradigm is demonstrated in miniature in the behaviour of the two men who are brought in to murder Banquo. Under seeming worthy pretense, and holy motivation, they are coerced into the plan. Very much perhaps like Mac was coerced into his seminal murder. The plan itself is of little importance as much as their involvement. But in such acts, one can only go in for a mile, and before these gentlemen have a second to truly resolve themselves they are bound to another murder, of an unquestionably innocent creature, Fleance. Similarly, Mac's intitial murder leads to still other murder. If there was any chance of these men bearing any honorable ilk to their grave at the start of the scene, that ilk is but blown athwart by the end of the scene. If there was any chance that these characters were concerned citizenry at the top of the scene, by the bottom they are murderers in character. The corruption ranging in Mac is spread outward and downward through the heirarchy of his government like a plague. Tyranny does not lie alone in the tyrant.

Friday, April 23, 2010

When my drink is ready ...

I love that line and the way it can affect an audience, filling them with admiration and dread for the forthcoming act, so colorfully, and so crudely described as a drink. But I also think it is the key to that dagger speech which directly proceeds the act. The act of Duncan's murder is the main locus of event in the scene, towards which all the life points, but this line creates a hollow space just before it. As such, after parting with Banquo and then dismissing the servants there is this odd, almost absurd moment when there is nothing to be done, nothing at all but wait for the ring of the bell. After all he has settled upon performance of the terrible feat and this then is not so much a moment of comtemplation. But still he must wait before he can perform. Its wonderful, and mundane, and human, that this exists in the play. Its like the the Dumb Waiter, where the murderers must wait for the call, and the waiting time, where nature goes way to dangerous thoughts in repose, is here illustrated. I think in the course of the speech he forgets the very thing that he is waiting for, and has almost forgetten it completely, until the last beat when in frustration he mocks the speech itself - words to the heat of deeds, too cold breath gives. I think at this point he is anxious to get the thing started, and then in direct response to that anxiety, his call is answered by the bell that invites him to his terrible drink.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

To lie like truth ...

There is that strange bit of a speech after Lenox and Macbeth return from viewing Duncan's butchered body, wherein Mackie had also killed the grooms (talk about being at the wrong place at the wrong time, much like Lady McDuff). He says that he wishes he had himself died before this chance. Now I think, the best lies can be traversed when one treads as near the boundary of truth as possible. It then becomes like creeping to the very edge of a cliff, and leering over, putting your weight against the wind. or like walking a tightrope between the world trade centers, when you know you are saying the absolute truth, and yet giving an absolutely false impression. There is a rush of power in being the innocent flower and the serpent under it. Which leads to a thought in the second plotting Lady Mac scene, that she is an acting coach, and now he applies her directions.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The future in the instant ...

I was talking about technology with a buddy of mine this afternoon, and he echoed a thought I've often had which I am sure is not an uncommon one, that it seems very possible and likely that in the near future we may have communication devices implanted directly into our corporal selves.

This interference, or advancement, or grafting, if indeed and whenever it does come, will, like cloning, doubtless settle with out its moral and ethical baggage and will most likely be met by profound resistance and resentment on religious, moral, ethical, and social grounds. Well at least until the technology, like any new technology, becomes so common, and indispensible, that its use is contractual to social existence.

There will, I imagine be people who will not consider the moral aspects of the technology, against regards of its naked advatanges.

But then there will be others who will actually consider the moral complications of the technology, but then also justify its use as an inevitability, or rather as a necessity in light of others existing moral depravity. In other words if they don't do get the technology, well, certainly, others will. And to prevent what ever advantage others might unfairly gain from it, and subsequently use to subjegate them with, they themselves have to acquire the advantage, and use it preemptively.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Open locks, whoever knocks ...

This phrase is the tag line of our production, and recently I've been thinking about it quite a bit in relation to other aspects of character of Macbeth and the show at large.

The phrase is spoken by the witches as Mac enters their Pit of Acheron for his second visitation, to learn by the worst means, the worst.

Most obviously the phrase resonates the porter's speech about the knocking at hell's gate.

But yet another textual association can be drawn to Mac's speech in I.iii, when he he is rapt in thought in regards to his new robes. "This supernatural solicitation can not be ill, cannot be good, if ill why hath it given me earnest of success commensing in a truth; if good, why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair, and my seated heart KNOCK at my ribs, against the use of nature."

By such ligamenting, it can be said, his very heart, moved by the witches' prohecy, is it self knocking at hell's gates, his ribs, if one can see the ribs as two reciprocal panels of hinged barred doors, like that of some castle entrance. And even the smallest knocking of sin, at the perpetrator's heart is enough to summon the porter to his calling.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

All our yesterdays ...

The tomorrow speech is probably the most famous speech in the entire bloody language, and so far every time I do it I feel I am proceeding into a hallowed moment with its requisite preceeding pause rather then an actual personal experience. Part of the difficulty I find in it is its seeming disjointed nature. There is a logical leap between the first two lines "She should have died hereafter/there would have been a time for such a word" and the following "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow..."

Its odd to me how tomorrow, which feels to me to be a positive form of time, (well this is of course debatable, as tomorrow is uncertain, except for death, the only certainty) gets the strange dark colouration. Maybe I'm thinking of the Annie song, when the sun will come out, that tomorrow is somehow hopeful. On the other hand, he says he gins to be a weary of the sun very shortly after. Lady M says, we will have the future in the instant. The future is promising. We build our hopes for the future. We want to leave the present.

All of this relates to time, and time is a key theme in the play, mentioned in its variant forms multitudinously through out the play. This speech is perhaps an expolaration of time and human relationship to it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Swords I smile at ...

I've been thinking about the relationship Macbeth has to his weaponry, and I'm considering it is an intimate one. He handles his weapons with the familiarity a cat handles its claws, as they are ready to be drawn in an instant, and in such a manner that they are the extension of himself, a protrusion of his very soul into a pointed and potentially fatal shred. Similarly, like the cat, their exposure, though quick and volatile, is without reservation, and it takes some strong manner of dissolution to convince him of their withdrawal, and to settle his moved spirit, and avert his aim from a target. All this thinking, is applicable to the battle scenes, the dagger scene, the knocking scene, the banquet, and perhaps other scenes. I imagine that there might be a moment in which he threatens the witches, that they may indeed speak more. All this does make for a good amount of knife handling, but, Mac be what he be, whether hot blooded or otherwise, when he gnarls he bears his claws.