Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The SUNY New Paltz Production of The Tragedy of Macbeth

Through watching the SUNY New Paltz Production of The Tragedy of Macbeth, I realized that there are some challenges modern audience’s face when approaching Shakespeare. While we have spent an entire semester digging deep into the crux of his works, people with little to no experience with Shakespeare often cannot appreciate productions of Shakespeare’s works. During the play, the friend I brought had a lot of trouble following the plot and the students sitting behind us went on about how bored they were until they finally left at the intermission. This reaction to the play shows us that Shakespeare’s plays are quite different than Modern Drama. While these plays are often limited in characters and plot points (for example Topdog/Underdog, Dutchman, Endgame, No Exit, etc.), Shakespeare’s plays have an overabundance of characters and dramatic action. While this concentration, or density, of Shakespeare’s plays may be slightly overwhelming, it also creates a great amount of intensity. For this reason, I enjoyed the chaotic approach to staging this play as it helped to unravel so much dramatic action within a short amount of time. 

One of my favorite parts of the production was the scene with Banquo’s ghost at the dinner table. While some of my classmates argued that Banquo’s role was not very convincing, I found him to to be one of the best actors of the production. When he reappeared as a ghost I was very impressed with the careful staging of his character. There was something eerie about his blood red costume, and something haunting about his subtle movements. I also enjoyed to watch Macbeth’s highly dramatic and guilt ridden performance. I think the actor successfully portrayed Macbeth’s unstable state of mind in the mix of his all his guilt and worries.

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