Over the years I’ve seen many productions & takes on the Scottish play both on stage & in film. Some very traditional, others reinventing the setting. One of my favourite films is Joe MacBeth a 50’s gangster take with Broderick Crawford & Ruth Roman. Throne of Blood is also great. Patrick Stewart’s eastern bloc version is the best Macbeth I’ve ever seen.

fall colours in Stratford Oct 2016
fall colours in Stratford Oct 2016

On stage I’ve seen puppets, clowns & even real people 🙂 tackling it. At The Festival this will be the the third or maybe fourth production I’ve seen. The last was the African revolution ‘variation’ that had Colm Feore driving a jeep on stage (in a nod I guess to Miss Saigon’s helicopter).

This production of Macbeth starts when you enter the theatre – instead of house music there is a constant rumble of distant thunder. Mist, blackout & lights up with the witches swirling around in the swirling mist. The play moves, for the most part, quickly, effectively. Ian Lake as our ‘hero’ is excellent, unflattering even when his character is supposed to falter. I never for a moment believed this man didn’t have the fortitude to what was to be done.07strat04

Krystin Pellerin as his Lady is strong as well, not as strong as Lane though. I didn’t feel her conniving – it was as if the murder was an automatic response as opposed to something that occurs to her. There is chemistry between her and the Lord. The washing of his body after battle is a nice foreshadowing of her later hand washing dilemma.

As much as I like the Porter’s text it stops the play in its tracks. No director has be willing to cut it. It is a problem to be solved & this production fails to solve it. I know the historic context for it but even then it added nothing to propelling the story. Comic relief isn’t needed & it doesn’t create tension.

Gene's washroom selfie Oct 2016
Gene’s washroom selfie Oct 2016

None of the secondary characters were outstanding, but Michael Blake as Macduff has an affecting moment on hearing of the death of his wife. Lane give ‘Tomorrow and’ a deeply emotional performance. I wish some of the other work had as much depth. The murderers were mundane, the generals lacked enunciation.

The sword play was exciting. The wigs & beards were amazing – I’ve seen too many badly constructed & poorly applied beards & the ones in this production looked real – we were in 2nd row centre seats so we had very close up looks 🙂 Which also added to my pleasure at the amazing six-pac abs the Laird wasn’t shy about displaying – I didn’t realize there was gym in his castle.

pig snout on the drive home from Stratford Oct 2016
pig snout on the drive home from Stratford Oct 2016

The other Festival productions I saw this season are:

A Little Night Music:

The Hypochondriac:

A Chorus Line


The Killer Wants To Know

the killer wondered
how long it took for blood to dry
he never left a crimson spatter pattern
he didnʼt leave clues
there was so much about death
that he didnʼt understand

like how long it took for blood to dry
did it get absorbed
would it slather the surface
and clot cake dry
become flakey then powder
be blown away

in the morning breeze

could it be resurrected by rain

he knew what was released on death
the bowel bladder
abrupt shudderings
that were the price of what he did
to liberate this world
from all these unnecessary fucks
all these jerk offs
who didnʼt see how precious life was
until he would suddenly confront them
in the washroom of a noisy bar
music pounding so loudly
people thought the the thump

on the stall door

was someoneʼs fun drug reaction

but most of them didnʼt know
how long it took for blood to dry
not that he asked them
why worry them with more
than how good is the coke

he offered

then push them into a stall
life gone
him gone out the door
his impression around the neck

satisfying and simple

but now he had something

new to learn

he had to find out

hello stranger


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington – sweet,eh?

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