Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Read on, read on, MacDuff!

Just wondering: anyone out there ever thought Macbeth might be satirising tragedy?

14 comments:

eyrie said...

It would certainly be lovely to stage it that way.

alexis said...

Well, yes. Now you mention it. (Though, actually, the 2006 film, Macbeth gone all Melburnean gangland, was pretty close to it. Witches as post-pubescent Goth schoolgels, Macbeth in black leather kilt and winklepinchers. I saw it at 3 pm in the cinema, and three of the five other audience members were laughing out loud.)

What I meant, though, was are we really earnestly expected to pity Mr McB?

Martin Kingsley said...

I know I didn't.

Give me Titus Andronicus and a highly suspect pie any day.

Maria said...

It might have been tragedising satire.

Yes, saw the 2006 version, and I think the DVD got passed around and recommended to some blokes "for the witches". Thought Lady Macbeth wasn't too bad though.

I was a bit fonder of the Baz Luhrmann's version of Romeo + Juliet when it came to filmed, modern reimaginings of Shakespeare. Yes, it was also wayout and some plot elements were cut but I felt more for Romeo and Juliet in that version than I did for MacBeth in the 2006 version.

lucy tartan said...

Maybe Thurber did.

eyrie said...

In that case, is it possibly satirising tragedy or possibly satirising a morality play? Satire or parody implies a certain self-consciousness about form. There's something a bit curious (to my mind, anyway) about the way McB reads as a whole, but it's a similar effect (for me) to folk tales (in which the question of sympathy isn't generally straight-forward either). I think I would have to think more than the late hour allows to answer properly.

I haven't seen the Melburnian gangland McB. One of the best recent Shakespeare films for my money would be Richard III with Ian MacKellen. Julie Taymor did a very gory Titus a few years back, which I haven't seen (I say "gory" based on the stills of Lavinia in a certain scene).

R.H. said...

Miss Tartan may remember that I staged MacBeth in a Paddington cafe with the witches as prostitutes.
And I staged Hamlet at the same venue with Miss Tartan as Osric*

*At her request.


(Her cat got a part too)

R.H. said...

Miss Pavlov and Mr Bahnish were the only two satirised.


(I think)

R.H. said...

(Wooh!- my pants have caught fire!)

alexis said...

I consulted an Ex Pert, who said that no, Macbeth no be satire, and I should think a bit about what it would have meant to perform it in the court of James I.

eyrie said...

Sigh! I guess one really shouldn't de-historicise, even when the possibilities of doing so are such fun.
Everyone should have a handy expert to keep their flights of fancy grounded!

TimT said...

Late to this conversation, but really, I remember meditating a few months ago on the closeness of tragedy and comedy - tragedy, which has people driven to their death/climactic plot point by a fatal flaw; comedy, which (in some forms, at least) has characters driven to the climax/denouement by a personal quirk.

Drastic oversimplification, I know, but I think it holds true in many cases. Hamlet in particular could be a kind of satire, since you're always tempted to laugh at Hamlet's mind-forged manacles rather than sympathise with him. (I'm not sure about the purpose of the 'play within a play' in Hamlet, but wouldn't one interpretation have it as part of the general tone of satire/mocking of great men?)

eyrie said...

Well, that's what's so marvellous about Shakespeare: that, the court of James I aside, there are so many different ways you can stage each text. What I find frustrating is a production which doesn't have a coherent interpretation that has been worked all the way through. On the level of personal reading too, one notices or values different things at various points in one's life- in a completely dehistoricised way, but no less rich for that.

R.H. said...

I see drama in the streets every day, all those dress-ups and hairdos.

-Robert.
The Valve.