Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Exit Killer of Kings, Loudly

We rise at 8.30am hoping to have a leisurely breakfast before we leave for Stratford - cereal, fresh pastries, yogurt with fruit and granola, great coffee, fresh berries - an amazing repast at the best table in the house, the north eastern corner of the Dining Room by the window where we can see the pond and the terrace.
We spend the next hour and a half reading in the Wilks Conservatory -this is blissful. Being inherently lazy and loving to read, I am in heaven here.

We leave for Stratford at noon. We arrive early and search for a gift for the sprout (who returns from camp the next day). R finds a Manga version of Macbeth for her as well as a great blank book with an interesting cover for my notes and a pair of blue stone earrings.

I was excited about seeing Colm Feore as Macbeth - what a confusing mishmash of images and themes - it boggled the mind! Set in "contemporary mythic Africa" the male characters are dressed in combat gear with Scotland insignia or African dashikis. The women, notably Yanna McIntosh as Lady Macbeth, sometimes appears in African garb, Jackie Kennedy like attire complete with pillbox hat and at other times appears to superficially resemble First Lady Michelle Obama with her beautiful, tailored clothes and straightened hair. Are they consciously trying to emulate Michelle Obama - but to what end - to suggest that the Obamas resemble the famed Macbeths?
Setting it in "mythic Africa" what does that mean - which Africa? The Africa of AIDS and poverty and civil war? The Africa of the north - Egypt or Morocco? The Africa of war-ravaged Darfur?

Feore seemed, and I hesitate to say it, too effete and fragile to portray the murderous, ambitious Scot who kills his own king. And Yanna McIntosh was underwhelming, tending to shout her lines to convey passion or anger. A slight lisp also mars her performance although R disagreed.
The effects (a jeep on stage, full military garb for the Scottish noblemen, grenades lobbed, bombs going off, rifles shot, men in SWAT team attire literally dropping from the ceiling on ropes, strobe lights, giant videos, MacDuff's son's throat graphically slit with blood gushing) were aggressive and gratuitous I thought. Who is the audience demographic here? Fourteen year old boys who play video games? R was particularly incensed by the production.
And the self-satisfied smirk on Feore's face at the end of the play during the applause! I couldn't understand the enthusiasm of the crowd. And the room was absolutely packed, it was.

Afterwards we met our friends Stan and Penny at Bentley's in Stratford for dinner (always a pleasure to see them). They said that the production has been getting awful reviews and many blame Des McAnuff, the artistic director for not trusting the text enough. Some interesting thoughts about what is happening in Stratford here.

As always, I was anxious to get home at the end of the trip. We made it home in record time (by 9.30pm). We were welcomed by two greedy little cats and a nice cozy house, happy in the expectation that J would be home on the morrow.

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