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  • Macbeth on BBC4, Sunday 12th December 2010
    by hopper2607 at 13:14 on 13 December 2010

    I'm a complete novice as far as Shakespeare goes, but the BBC4 version with Patrick Stewart on Sunday pushed me back into my chair with an iron fist and prevented me from getting up again until the credits were rolling.

    I didn't find it easy to follow the dialogue, but this didn't stop my enjoyment. Also, I could appreciate the drama in the language.

    The three witches managed to be horrific without any use of make-up. The horror came from what I think was some electronic trickery done at times with their voices, and with the unnatural way they moved sometimes. Particularly, when they were in a morgue using dead bodies to speak their words to Macbeth.

    What do Shakespeare fans here think? Is this sort of interpretation, setting it in today's world, regarded as dumbing-down?

    I missed the first half hour, hope it will be repeated. Or released on DVD. It is something I could watch over and over, and a DVD could feature extras to educate the likes of me on Shakespeare's use of language.


    PS Over 30 years ago now, but I do remember being one of the assassins when we were reading the play out in class. Remember the line 'We have lost best part of our affair,' or something similar. It was my only line and I fluffed it somehow, reducing the class to laughter as I wished the ground would open up.

  • Re: Macbeth on BBC4, Sunday 12th December 2010
    by Steerpike`s sister at 14:53 on 13 December 2010
    I caught the end of it, and enjoyed what I saw. My mum didn't like it though, she says she doesn't like modern-dress versions of Shakespeare. But she is not exactly an expert!
  • Re: Macbeth on BBC4, Sunday 12th December 2010
    by cherys at 09:24 on 14 December 2010
    In Shakespeare's day, the actors performed historical plays in modern dress. It's a convention that has been around since he first wrote the plays. I didn't see the Patrick Stewart but you make me wish I had - sounds great.
  • Re: Macbeth on BBC4, Sunday 12th December 2010
    by Cornelia at 12:23 on 15 December 2010
    This production was discussed at my U3A class yesterday, after someone mentioned they'd been put off by the violence.

    It a play I like and am familiar with, having taught it as an O'Level set text many times. Every scene seems to move the plot forward, unlike say, Hamlet, my least favourite of the tragedies. My favourite 'film' version is the Polanski one with a naked sleep-walking Lady Macbeth played by Francesca Annis, I think, (unlikely, in a Scottish castel) and Martin Shaw as Banquo.

    It's powerfully supernatural and violent play. As is often said, Shakespeare's resources were few and he had to do it all with words. There's lots of evidence from other plays around at the time, as well as Shakespeare's though, that his audience really liked a visceral depiction of violence in their drama. I remember being shocked by stage directions for a play called Tamburlaine that said 'Brains himself on the bars of the cage'

    I think directors like Peter Hall and Trevor Nunn just went all out to find new interpretations, which inevitably distort and emphasise certain aspects. For someone like myself who's seen a lot of Shakespeare it's always good to see a new interpretation. I'm sorry I missed this one.