Macbeth: The Globe
Posted by Em on Mon, 24 May 2010.
Never in all my years on this planet have I been subjected to such horror and gore on the advice of my teachers. A recent school trip to the Globe to see Macbeth revealed that teachers aren’t that great at protecting your innocence, well at least not where Shakespeare is concerned.
Basic storyline, Macbeth is the faithful soldier who after a quick encounter with some witches decides he deserves to be next in line for the throne of Scotland, so with the help of his manipulative wife he murders the king. Unfortunately things don’t go to plan madness rips Macbeth and his wife apart and both end up dead (although with slightly more plot twists).
Walking into the Globe I was struck by how huge it is, it was all decked out with a huge piece of black fabric spanning out from the stage, with all these slits in it. Anyone with a standing seat went under the fabric and then stuck their head through the slit so they looked like a sea of floating heads from where I was sitting. Suddenly out of the slits burst men covered in bright red blood clawing at the air. The three witches stood on the stage cackling as these blood covered men writhed around in agony. Unfortunately this show of blood splattered men continued throughout the whole show meaning I was totally desensitised to the gore. Now, for anyone who knows me that’s saying something as I am such a scardy cat when it comes to blood, guts or anything really! It’s hard to believe this play was written about 400 years ago, when men are bursting out the stage in head to toe gore. The list of injuries suffered in this play ranged from eyes being poked in and fingers chopped off to necks broken a little girl having her throat slit.
I have to admit this wasn’t what I was expecting when my teachers told me about this trip; it was Shakespeare after all how bad could it be? Bad apparently!
Fortunately the unbelievable amounts of blood did not distract from the fantastic acting of Macbeth (played by Elliot Cowan). He was amazing, raging around the stage in pure Macbeth madness, every scene was great, he even managed pick up on the small pieces of comedy in the play and convey them without distracting from the tragedy of the play. Unfortunately this made the acting of a slightly shouty Lady Macbeth look even worse. She stumbled through most of the play only redeeming herself in her last scene, Lady Macbeth’s sleep walking soliloquy. She was fantastic really showing Lady Macbeth’s inner turmoil. Other characters really stood out as well Ross, Malcolm and the Witches were all fantastic. The witches were terrifying (so much so that even when the blood and gore reached a peak and I was contemplating leaving the theatre, I was too scared to leave in case the witches got me!!!).
Macbeth is Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy; I can safely say I don’t want to see his longest. I love Shakespeare and even I was getting restless by the end let alone some of my less focused classmates. Although the Globe is impressive it does have a lot of draw backs, one being that each balcony is held up by a number of pillars, although I’m happy that they keep the theatre standing they do tend to get in the way, a lot. 3 hours is just too long for a play especially in a theatre where a pillar is always blocking your view of the stage. I would say that anyone thinking of going to the Globe should invest in a seat cushion, 3 hours on wooden seats really leaves you in pain at the end!
I loved the play even with the pillars and blood distracting me. Shakespeare is so fantastic in the Globe; it really is the only way to see it. I would go back and see Macbeth again tomorrow if I could.
(I had to take a couple of points off for the blood all most making me pass out!)