Thursday, May 8, 2008
Lay on, ye great haggis face
I have a confession to make. I'm not a huge fan of Shakespeare. Sure, I went to Shakespeare camp as a kid (didn't everybody?) and I went to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival something like 7 years in a row. But given the choice between a Shakespeare play (particularly one that's a tragedy....or three hours long) and a musical comedy, I'll pick the musical comedy every time. So when everyone started saying "I hear that Macbeth is really good," or "Ooooh, Macbeth with Patrick Stewart, great," I was secretly thinking "Eh. Can't I just see In The Heights again?"
However, I decided that it would be wrong to just see audience pleasing comedies all the time and that if I was going to see a serious three hour long Shakespeare play, well gosh darn it, it had better be a good one. And so, rush ticket in hand (procured for me by Ana and Sarah), off we went to the theatre.
I am the first to admit that I was wrong for being hesitant to see this play (mostly because I don't want anybody else rubbing it in my face). It was great! I didn't know that it would have such interesting mulitmedia. I'm going to post a picture now where Patrick Stewart has a funny look on his face - but ignore that, just look at the set behind him.
Yeah, he looks weird. He doesn't look like that onstage, I promise. But see how the walls behind him are white up to a certain level and then black above? They used that to show some awesome projections - sometimes of backgrounds, sometimes they mirrored what was on the television set, sometimes they dripped with swirling blood. It was really really cool.
The production was set in a sort of Stalin-ish Russia, with lots of parallels drawn between the two dictators (which, by the way, brought up my favorite out-of-context quote of the night - "I hear Stalin killed a lot of people, you know, Macbeth-style." Thanks Sarah!) I loved that it was set in a specific place and time. I am so sick of Shakespeare shows where they kind of dress half modern and half time period and pretend like that makes it "universal." Blech. But the point is, I thought that it was very well done.
Now to what I know you all really want to hear about: Patrick Stewart. The most beloved of the Star Trek captains (Sorry Captain Janeway, you know I love you the best). But man, oh man! Captain Picard can act. Who knew, right? I guess the Brits did, because if you check his bio, he has Shakespeare credits up the wazoo, which I can only assume came before his television show (or at least, mostly before). He has this crazy trick of being able to make long winded iambic pentameter sound like regular speech (only better). And hey, isn't that what good actors are supposed to do (and often fail at)? Amazing.
I'm going to give Kate Fleetwood her own paragraph here. That should tell you about how great she is. First of all, she really has a handle on that whole scary murdered "unsex me here" side of Lady Macbeth. But unlike a lot of actresses, she really brings her feminine side into the performance. You can really see how people would be taken in by her and think that she's just a nice lady - instead of a crazy blood smearing maniac. Plus, she's the director's wife! At first I thought, blech, favoritism! Kate Hudson! Aaaaah! But then she opened her mouth and spoke and I forgot about all that. Yay for connected people actually being talented! I love it. Hats off to the director for letting his wife make out with Patrick Stewart every night. Isn't he worried? What if Captain Picard (insert your own star trek joke here)?
I thought this was a great production. Sure, it's long, but suck it up! It's way better than sitting on your couch watching reality tv while eating a block of cheese (which let's face it, is often an option for an evening's entertainment). On a related note - tickets were very easy to get. Ana walked up to the box office and said "Can I have three rush tickets?" at 4pm and they said "okay." So, no excuses! (unless you live across the country and it's really far - I'll accept that one) But no other excuses! You'll like it.