Macbeth – Two Lit Soc Members Review An Oddly Jarring Performance

Shakespeare’s Globe – Summer 2016

***/*****

Although a stunning performance from Ray Fearon as the titular King of Scotland, with enough vehemence, aggression and intensity to breathe fearful life into the tortured man, the play was unfortunately hindered by a disappointing and unsatisfying portrayal of Lady Macbeth from Tara Fitzgerald. Hardly the imperious and deranged creature who is ruined by her own ambition, this Lady was oddly comical and often jarring to the tone of the tragedy, sometimes confusing the audience as to whether we should remain on tenterhooks or be laughing at her delivery.

However, hardly a fault can be found with the stagecraft of the opening scene, containing enough dismembered limbs and skulls to satisfy even the most gruesome among us, and the interesting construction of the witches from this smattering of body parts allowing a truly eerie mood, further heightened by the beautiful Celtic-inspired vocals which must garner a special mention for being a brilliant creator of tone throughout the play.

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  But, possibly the oddest element of the performance was a small child, clearly representative of Macbeth in some way, who wandered around the stage, breaking the fourth wall and without a particularly clear purpose or symbolic significance. Was he Macbeth’s soul? Was he a reflection of the troubled man’s innocence? Who knows! He may have been adorable, but he was one of many confusing directorial choices that caused bizarre tonal shifts throughout.

Overall, an enjoyable and entertaining piece certainly, but not a performance for those who love the darkness and desolation of a Shakespearean tragedy.

 

Nicola Evans & Jenny Recaldin

SHS Year 13

 

Featured photo courtesy of Iris Chung

Cooking with Gas – Lit Soc’s First Session

We had a bumper pupil turnout on a warm, sunny evening, which continues to be the Lit Soc tradition in early September.

Delving in to the literary treasure chest that was “What we read on our ‘olidays”, we circled the Globe when discussing the current version of Macbeth, the dystopian and visceral 1984 production at the Playhouse, and even darker theatrical goings on at the Almeida in the shape of another Shakespearean adaptation: Richard III, starring Ralph Fiennes.

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Discussion began with Amelia Bateman’s choice The Girls, which rendered her “catatonic”, unable to pick up another book for five days of her holiday. Another book that has triggered fevered debate in the Sixth Form Common Room is Louise O’Neill’s Asking For It, with its teenage protagonist narrator experiencing many of the growing pains that the age group endure.

Nicola and Sacha contributed their views on The Reader (aka Der Vorleser), which tied in with Mrs Stead’s fascinating description of Berlin and her “enjoyment” of Anna Funder’s Stasiland, originally published in 2001, which details the horrific history of living in East Germany before the Berlin Wall came down. Continuing the international theme, Messrs Conway and Humphreys waxed lyrical on the travelogue genius of Tim Butcher’s Blood River, as both gentlemen were suitably inspired by their respective travels on the African continent.

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Other highlights (too numerous to list all): Mr Sanders deep in law reports, Jenny distinctly underwhelmed by A Tale of Two Cities, a few members had bought Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (“great fan fiction”), Miss Norwood enjoyed Robert Harris’ The Dictator, and Mrs Rendle-Short was really enthusiastic about Doris Lessing’s seminal The Grass Is Singing.

Time considerations prevented us from discussing Mrs Horwood’s summer reads which included The Anatomy Lesson by Siegal and The Essex Serpent which has had great publicity recently. Mrs Richards forgot to attend! However, she sent us her recommendations, which included: Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro, Frost/Nixon and Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens. And last but by no means least, Ms Huntley’s favourite Our Souls At Night by Kent Haruf, a very different love story, and revisiting Dorothy Dunnett’s amazing six books that make up the Lymond Saga.

Next week is will be on the splendiferous Roald Dahl, in honour of his centenary. All welcome!