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This part of the site is intended to help you with your understanding of Macbeth and our version of it but it is also a little bit more than that. We are a living, breathing theatre company working to bring shows to life. To that end we will also focus on our process in the hope that we inspre you as theatre makers of the future. This will help those of you studying Macbeth but also those of you that tackle the devising process. We hope you enjoy it and thank you for taking the time to explore the world of Candlelit Macbeth with us. 


Bart Lee

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MACBETH


Is Macbeth a hero?


Ben, my very good friend who plays Macbeth for us, is always trying to convince me that Macbeth isn't all bad. I listen to him, I understand his point of view, but then I think about the characters actions and these far out way his words. Macbeth is a bastard.


Is it all Macbeth's fault?


Now that is a better question in my opinion. Ben, becuase he plays Macbeth, sees him as a person. Ben feels Macbeth's worry, his doubt and experiences his nerves, his racing heartbeat, his each and every breath for every second of the play. Macbeth is definitely coerced by his wife into the act of murder. Macbeth is definitely given a phrophecy that he doesn't ask for by the three Witches. So therefore, Macbeth is  in no doubt manipulated by others.


Then there's Shakespeare. Shakespeare created Macbeth to be a dramatic device. Much as the Greeks gave us Oedipus, Antigone, Medea (among many others) to learn from. Shakespeare gives us Macbeth. Shakespeare gives Macbeth actions and he gives him poetry,  philosophy, and presents a man of his time driven by human emotions pushed to extreme limits.


It may not start as Macbeth's fault, but bit by bit he takes full responsibility for his actions and he follows his path to the bitter end. He is a soldier, and just as The King of Scotland uses him to win wars in the first place (labeliing him a hero for fighting and murdering) Macbeth continues true to form in pursuit of his own ambitions. Like Oedipus he has hubris and Shakespeare uses that as a dramatic device. He also gives him a soul and some fantastic poetry.


CANDLELIT MACBETH


Patsy, our designer, like many theatre folk, has studied Macbeth in depth. It's always hard when you take on a Shakespeare play because they are well known and well performed, and almost everything has been done before. Patsy has always found the Witches fascinating. In the time of James I witches were persecuted and killed for being different. Shakespeare was writing for James I and there is no doubt in the play that the Witches in Macbeth are written as spell casting hags, withered and warped.


As director for the production I could imagine a way to tell our play from a good discussion that Patsy and I had about the Witches. As a writer all I had to do was find some way to make it work without ruining quite a famous, well known and well performed play. The three Witches are just that in the script. First Witch, second Witch, third Witch. Famously referred to as the "Wierd Sisters". Yet there is a fourth. HECATE. She has a brilliant speech in which she admonishes the Wierd Sisters for their actions.  So if HECATE (The boss witch) has a name it stands to reason that the others can too. We chose DESPOINA (which means Lady) ERIS (Chaos) and BRIMO (the Angry One / Mistress of the Mighty Dead).


For our production we have imagined that ; The Witches are out for revenge because their kind are being killed by the Christian Kings, and Duncan is a sympathiser with England. The Witches are Pagans and they posess a Pagan champion. Macbeth. They set him on a course of murder, greed and jealousy. They are shape shifters and they posess / take over / become all of the characters that Macbeth meets on his journey in order to keep influencing him. Having said this Macbeth has to choose the path and there are moments in which he wavers. This infuriates the Witches. Macbeth in his turn uses the Witches for his selfish ambitions. Chaos reigns.


Costume concepts below by Patsy Fraser


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Macbeth questions from Q&A Session with The Marist School yrs 9,10,11,12 


1. As actors, who do you think influenced Macbeth the most? Lady Macbeth, the witches, or his own ambition?

2. Do you agree it’s ok performing a play about such deceptive, murderous characters to schoolchildren because their actions have serious consequences?

3. Do you prefer performing tragedies or comedies & why?
4. What are your favourite Shakespeare plays to perform?

5. Are the messages conveyed in Macbeth at all relevant for audiences today?
6. Should we have sympathy for Macbeth?
7. Do you think Lady Macbeth is more evil than Macbeth?

8. Do you think the murder of King Duncan should be onstage or offstage?
9. Should Duncan be a more interesting or developed character?

10. Do you think we can have any sympathy for Macbeth?
11. What is the worst act Macbeth commits?