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.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Poor player...

In one or another copy of the play with its particular annotations, I came across a note that argues the line "a poor player" suggests an unskilled performer. It seems legitimate that it can also be spoken to suggest an actor who may be well recieved, yet is still hapless in his life. Either way, its an ironic line to be said by the character of a play that bears his name and purportedly tells his tale. It seems both aware of the theatre, and of the world in one breath.

I can not say that I am not afraid to some extent of failing expectations and of appearing to be that very poor player who struts and then is heard no more. I feel my one means of escaping such a doom, is to play the part in and out through my skin. I was speaking with a colleague the other day, and he said verse requires both technical as well spiritual facility. I agree with this colleague of mine. The words have to be heard and understood, and inspired into the imaginations of the audience.

I am realizing that character must come out of instinct, which requires building an instinct or harnessing it, so that life on the stage is not thought through so much as lived through. Another colleague of mine feels that Mac is the one character who reacts entirely and is completely a product of his circumstance, and that the actor playing him need only live, and that he makes no decisions. I don't agree that Mac doesn't make decisions. He very much does, and very much pays for them. But I do agree that he is behaving as only Mac behaves. The words can really be bent to do anything as long as there is existence and focus into the scene. If you play a person who differs from yourself in some way, you must find your way into the life of that person that then does allow you to hold up a mirror to nature so fully. You can then allow yourself to really and simply say the words with out any premeditation. The goal would be that the audience is not watching an actor who plays Mac, but Mac himseld. Then you can have the capacity to not plan your performance and live in the moment in manner that is ever truthful.

In this light, I might be freed from any preconcieved interpretation or connection to any kind of proior performances, and then truly be might able to live the character as entirely my own. But this sort of acting, it does require a great deal more bravery and a great great deal more preparation.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My dearest love ...

I am still not fully resolved as to how much exactly her Ladyship Lady Mac does exactly hold sway over the heart he bears.

An x-girl friend gave me a good talking to the other day. I came over for a routine pick up and drop off, change the lightbulb, pet the cat, etc, rituals that have become the lingering remnants of our relationship. I have all intents and hopes to keep a friendship with her, and I was telling her about a certain scene I was working, specifically the scene in Annie Hall in which the Diane Keaton's Annie is leaving Woody Allen, and she and him need to sort out the books which had been once their mutual estate, now bound for division. I was working on the scene for a directing the actors class at Columbia. I told her, my x, and this may have been a bit fool hardy, that I couldn't help but think of our particular break up scene, how I was gathering my belongings, while she sat, almost the eye of a storm, herself a contained storm, while I was the wind swirling around her. This sad disturbing image made me keen to the multiplexed confusion of the whole situation, and that hearts are no light matter, and have to handled with kid gloves. Of course, in telling her this I think I was probably condescending. I really was hoping that this event that occured probably over two years ago could be something we could reflect on with some composure. Well, I was wrong. Somewhere a bit later, in our evening's conversation, the dam broke, and she went after me about love, telling me that though I never told her I loved her, she believed that there were times that this had to be true, and that as a man, and as an actor, I should not be afraid of admission of this kind, that acting is in fact putting your heart on your sleeve, and your soul into harms way.


I think she's right. I suppose I shouldn't be afraid. Lately, I got this new girl friend, and I tell her I love her every day like tomorrow will be too late to say it. Its not a joke really, and there is a weight that goes with it. Like Greeks used to say that speaking puts spirits into the air, so such love mustn't be inadvertantly tossed. I tell Lady M, she is my dearest love.

At a recent rehearsal, the director spoke of loss of love as a loss of one's best friend, for love like anything else is comprised of images and experiences, memories of hair, and eyes, and postures that are completely relavent and active. There is a specific joy commensurate with the beloved mate. I'd love to bring in some of that reality into the reunion scene. And some of that failure, into the news of her death.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

My most worthy friends ...

I think, as yet, my favorite scene in this play is the banquet.

It begins, in a certain respect triumphant, and full of hubris. Of course, I can speak in regards to Mac. I can't speak to what the lords at the table might or might not be thinking. Ideally they will be thinking different things each. But Mac himself has finally made it to the top. And apart from that, the being he most did fear has been all but annihilated. There is reason to indeed applaud the deed. But before long all the tables are upset, all peace gets rancoured, ghosts push the living off their stools, and blood will have blood. This is an insanely precise little triangle of beggining through to end, and the end is wicked, pathetic, and tragic in the same element. The individual who was near perfect, or atleast had estimation of being so, is broken into the hands of fate, each of his limbs tied to a string. Thats obviously not something to play, but as an image, the sense of ones finity, or moeity, is useful. The oppression of the gods can be palpable...huh? Yeah sure.

Anyway, story time. One of the maintenance guys at work was caught recently drinking, no, more acurately, drunk on the job. Seems a responsible individual, and cheerful, but bloody hell, what was he thinking. Damn. Pretty stupid I have to say. Well, of course I won't judge, I don't know his entire situation. He and I, we have some rapport. We chum. He came in to the office as I happened to be sitting at the front desk, and he told me in a whisper about the situation. I said to him, dude, that's crazy, I'm sure you won't be fired, but don't expect not to get your knuckles rapped. Here's the interesting part, he looked at me, said was anybody asking about him, did any rumours go around? I said I hadn't heard anything, and this was true, I really hadn't and, that this was in fact the first I'd heard about it. I think that was the extent of the conversation, as one of our managers walked passed that moment and called him into the conference room. Well, it'll be a shame, if he gets the Cassio treatment. Stupid fuck. I saw him through the conference room window, the picture of explanation.

But his questing expression as he asked about the rumours. Here's a guy who seems cool enough in any mud, but this was no mud, this was shit he was wading in, and his cool was way superficial. I felt an energy in his questions, and his stare at me. He was not trusting anything. There was fear and doubts mixed.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Full of scorpions is my mind ...

Last night I participated in a rendering of Sticky at the Bowery Poetry Club which is run by the presently so pregnant Libby Emmons and her husband David Marcus, great people, and a great recurring event. It was a pleasure to be involved, and I'm so surprised that I've never done this before, in all of its ten years of existence. My piece, "Police Tape", was written by Colette Mazunik, an old grad school chum, co-staring grad school chum Jake Lipman, and directed by Ryan Gielen, who directed grad school chum Kari Morris' wonderful little movie "Two." The whole thing was very grad school chum, as grad school chum Holly Ellis was one of the curator of the evening, grad school chum Brian Seibert was a director of another piece, and grad school chum Naveen Choudhury came to watch. Well, enough with the name dropping and forward with my tale.

One of the other pieces was called "For the Greater Good." Damn it, I oughta remember who wrote it. Never mind. It was about two former CIA, or some other similar secret self-devouring government organization, who meet in a bar. Being former ops, they have new present lives, and identifications. One of the them is a judge. The other is some sort of office hot shot, and his new name is Carver, and he called the meeting. The judge was he commander back in the good old cloak and dagger days. Carver is plagued by visions of a young girls eyes whose family he and his colleague had assassinated. More particularly he is convinced that the new office assistant at his job is that same girl grown up. He is seeking for the judge's permission to be replaced into commission that he might have the opportunity to take her out of commission so to speak. He says, more or less, "If she is not around, the assassination never happened. If nobody is alive to know about it, it never happened."

The poor motherfucker, the frightened murderer seeks peace, and sleep. His need for sleep becomes so crucial, that though you hate him as you watch him you are moved by the struggle for this basic, simple, innocent and essential instrument of our lives. Its self-deluding in so far as sleep will not absolve him of his crime.

I did not feel particularly fantastic about my performance this evening. Honestly, I've been spreading myself far too thin lately, and I will shortly be inclined to start saying no to projects so that I can actually commit my faculties to a task of greater importance. Thats neither here nor there. My point is that after the performance I was all eyes and ears of self-conscious apprehensions. I was clamoring for approvals and looking into others eyes with the guilt and heavy character of a guilty spirit. I had done something wrong, have a poor performance, and I wanted to see whether or not people knew it. I think I'm being over dramatic, but something of this is surely useful. Certainly the looks into other people's eyes are not innocent, full of doubts and fears.

After the show, I walked home, learning lines. This is what I mean I am spreading myself too thin, I have lines for like five projects I'm juggling in my mind. Its insane, and though I am draconian, I don't complain, I can't help from being sort of suckier in form or another. I'm always flying by the seat of my pants it feels, which is not necessarily ill. Not good either. Anyway, the scorpions line really struck me, very strongly. Very much the apex of the scene, and perhaps even of the whole bloody play. Not too put too too much emphasis on it, for fear of then balking it, or making my intentions too clear in performance, but, no the pangs of his mind, the visions that he sees must be strong, hard, constant, terrifying and so seemingly interminable that he can not proceed with out some further courses of action.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Smothered in surmise...

One thing starting to make itself somewhat clear to me, I say somewhat as I don't entirely want to commit to any clarity yet, its too early in the rehearsal process, is that Mac is very much a thinker. He is not indelliberate in pronunciations, and he finds language to respond to his situations. I've been reading dialogue multitudinously and thats the feeling I get. I can slow don't generally, and in the heated passionate moments, I can really slow it down, so that nearly each particular word, with its specific consonants and vowels, can act as its own little dramatic moment. Ofcourse, I don't want to slow down too terribly either. But I think enjoy language like any other Shakespearean character and uses it as fruitfully and colorfully as possible. I suppose that is what is meant, to let the thought really float on the words. And in that regards, so many of the words are heavy laden.

Mac is struck so much throught out the play. There are very very few moments when he knows ahead of time what he will be saying. There can exist a real discovery to the thoughts as they arise in response to the stimuli in the situations within the scenes. He is constantly juggling and walking tightropes, and being bombarded by events, both natural and supernatural. He is trying to think his way through it.

Often time, he becomes aware of himself and the situation in a third-person manner, and makes comment on it. Those are the best, and sweetest, and often the most ironic or poinent. In those moments he seems to have epiphanies, that may be absolutely and shocking and surprising to him in ways that are not even provided for with dialogue in the text. "Some things I have in head, that will to hand, which must be acted ere they may be scanned." I could see him even having a bit of a laugh at the quality of those things which he suddenly has discovered to have in head.

"Present fears are less then horrible imaginings," is a description of his emotional state caused by the particular thoughts that are running through his head. This too could be an epiphany. And what follows is even a exclamation on the manner in which meager unphysical thought confined to brain, seems to shake him so.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

If it were done...

Alright, so I am going to work on this play called Macbeth. Why the bloody hell not.
No, but really I better start working out, and try to get some semblance of a warrior across my physique. That and the director hinted something about being naked. Well there is only so much I can do. I'm a grower, not a shower. But that not withstanding, I think the fight scene at the end of the play, MacB v MacD, should be grandiose. Well, I atleast have aspirations that it will be awesome, and prolonged, and exhausting. Lots of sound and fury. A bit of a play within a play. And metal clanging. Some welding sparks and sweat flying across the stage would not be amiss. All that requires some good amount of physical fitness, and aerobic breath. I don't mind if the audience leaves with a comment such as "the play was alright, and Moti, really knew all those lines, but the fight, oh my." I more or less picture the scene thus: turn hell hound, blah, blah, blah, ok, let's fight, and fight, fight, fight, and fight, sweat, breathe, speak, breathe, fight, fight, fight, fight some more, breath, fight some more still, sweat, make MacD trip, eat MacD elbow, fight, fight, fight, speak, breathe, fight, fight, fight, run off stage, or die on stage, whatever the director decides, and finally, have my head carried off. So I should get in shape. I get daily HowTo.com. video clips in my inbox. Today I recieved one with instructions on the proper application of the caveman diet, which is basic and rather scandinavian. Its comprised of berries, nuts, venison, turnips, salmon, greens, and other such foods that are more less handy to your caveman environment, and require little more then hunting,or gathering. I watched Office Space last night, it was on TV, and there is a scene of the lead guy, forget his name, when he beings to trip down the primrose road of nihilism, he brings a freshly caught salmon into his cubicle, fillets it on his desk, and tosses the innards into the waste basket. Ah why then he was a man.