Sunday, March 7, 2010

There's Daggers in Men's Smiles - MACBETH!!!!

Holy. Freaking. CRAP! Macbeth at the Globe theatre blew every play ever done out of the water. It's been over 24 hours and I'm still floored by how good it was. My goodness.

*Deep breath* Ok. So. Yesterday (Saturday) morning we had classes to make up for a missed day on one of the group trips. Class got over at noon and by noon thirty we headed out. My four tickets went to Me, Laura M, Alyssa, and Mary. Dr. Howe had called and gotten four and had a drawing for the last two, making her group her, her niece, Katie Bruce, and Sarah S. Dr. Howe and niece left while we were in religion class to go eat at Borough Market (don't worry--I knew I'd be missing it this week so I ate an ostrich burger AND a kangaroo burger last week to tide myself over). So at noon thirty Laura, Alyssa, Mary, Katie, and Sarah headed out for the Globe. When we got there it turns out that Britin and Kalyn had decided to just show up and see if they could get tickets. They did. So we all went together an hour early and lined up at the gate. I made sure to be in front, and they had to ask me to step back so they could get my tickets. Once in we were stopped at the door to the yard for a few more minutes, but it's all good. We finally got in, and I was the first person in the door for the first play performed at the Globe in 2010. Pretty freaking awesome, but only the beginning.

I've always wanted to be a groundling (the people that stand in the area between the stage and the seats) and I got my chance. Boy did I get my chance: I was closest to the middle of the stage, right at the elbow where the mini catwalk was built. Like this:

Sarah, Laura, Mary, Kalyn, Brit, Katie, Me

So (oh man, I can't even type fast enough to show how excited I am.) I was so stinking close it was perfect. Macbeth spilled on me when he came in for the dinner scene, I got spit on a couple times (awesome), when the security guard popped out of the catwalk I was still turned and got sand down my shirt, and I had a great view of Lady Macbeth's legs (she had great legs). Oh MAN it was SO GOOD! Let me learn you about the production.

They set the play in modern-day Scotland, so all of the soldiers wore modern-day camo, but they still were sword-wielding maniacs. They used fake blood (in large amounts) and did a great job killing people (Banquo got his throat slit and died two feet in front of me. Kind of hoped I'd get squirted, but it's all good). There were mini explosions and pyro-technics going on, not to mention a zipline from the top floor to the pillars on the stage and plenty of repelling. All of the actors were fantastic: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, King Duncan, Macduff, Banquo, the witches, everyone. A good number of actors played two or three roles and one or two played more than that. It was an hour and forty minutes long but not too much was cut beyond unnecessary witch scenes, and there was no intermission, so we got the whole thing in one shot.

A few finishing touches were particularly good. For instance, the witches had a voodoo doll that they carried around and they leave it on the stage near the end, allowing Macbeth to pick it up and glance at it while he's in one of his later soliloquies. When Macbeth sends men to murder Macduff's wife and children they came out wearing masks (one a clown mask, one a greek tragedy mask, one a scarecrow-esque mask from the Batman movies, etc). Banquo's ghost appears at the banquet on stage and then his next appearance was up to my left in the crowd (other processions and actors went through the groundlings as well). And when Macbeth calls forth the witches to envoke another evil spirit near the end a massive black cloth was pulled from the catwalk right out from under Macbeth (and right in front of me), filled with air and held by the witches, with three or four other actors holding manequin heads and other objects that transformed and spoke as the spirits changed. It was awesome in every sense of the word. I was rooting for Macbeth the whole time and then stoked for him to get his at the end. The guy that played the security guard was hilarious and cast perfectly for his serious roles. The actress playing Lady Macbeth shed tears in the sleep-walking scene. On and on and on and on. Simply put, it was breath-taking.

King Lear done by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon was fantastic, but my favorite Shakespeare play from the best seat (feet?) in the Globe performed to perfection was the experience of a lifetime. I could leave England and/or die right now and be completely satisfied with what I had done. I simply cannot do the production justice with words, but it is enough to say that I now have a new interpretation for the words "Macbeth murders sleep."


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