I have a deep-seated love for Shakespeare, especially his tragedies. King Lear, Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra...I love them all. But my favorite of the Bard's tragedies is the play Macbeth.
Last week, it happened to be playing at the OCU theatre, and I got the chance to attend their A Day With Shakespeare program.
Basically, this is a day for high-school students to come, attend workshops, and watch the play.
I attended a workshop on unarmed stage fighting, which was led by the actors playing Macduff and Lenox. They demonstrated how to use knaps (or a well-placed clap) to make the sound of a slap or punch. They even demonstrated how to perform a flying kick that looks genuine, and rather painful!
Of course, I and my brother and sisters immediately began to try these moves on each other in the hall during the lunch break, and actually worked up to where we could perform all the tricks that they showed us.
Then we went back into the theatre to watch the play. The house lights went down, and when they came up again, all the actors were onstage, engaged in what seemed to be mortal combat, but as still as photographs.
Then they began to fight furiously.
The play was wonderfully done, and I spent hours afterward reliving it in my mind. The director had chosen to place Macbeth in a bleak wasteland environment, and the costumes seemed straight from an apocalyptic steampunk novel. All the fight scenes seemed real (and terrifyingly close as we were seated in the third row).
I really enjoyed this take on Macbeth. It was perfect for Halloween: with witches, apparitions, and murderers, there's not that much more one could ask for in a play.