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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: November ::
Re: Disasters in Performance of the Scottish Play
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.2230  Friday, 8 November 2002

[1]     From:   Peter Webster <
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        Date:   Thursday, 7 Nov 2002 13:50:36 EST
        Subj:   RE: Disasters in Performance of the Scottish Play

[2]     From:   Alan J. Sanders <
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        Date:   Thursday, 7 Nov 2002 14:55:57 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.2219 Re: Disasters in Performance of the Scottish
Play

[3]     From:   H. S. Toshack <
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        Date:   Friday, 8 Nov 2002 12:42:23 +0700
        Subj:   Disasters in Performance of The Scottish Play


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Webster <
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Date:           Thursday, 7 Nov 2002 13:50:36 EST
Subject:        RE: Disasters in Performance of the Scottish Play

Esteemed List:

I have been involved with 6 productions of the Scottish Play: as an
actor performing Macduff (twice), the mighty Angus, Malcolm, as
director, and as spectator.

Each production had something weird happen.

My first Macduff: armed to the teeth with target, battle-ax,
hand-and-a-half sword slung over my back, and outsize dirk at my belt
(the conceit was that we were all really, really bloodthirsty, even the
women-folk were armed - even though no one would ever go into battle
with all that stuff).  The S.K. and I went at it: my battle-ax snapped
along the handle, I cast it away; the target split in two under the
S.K.'s answering stroke, I cast it away; my hastily-drawn
hand-and-a-half sword snapped at the hilt at the first stroke, I cast it
away; I drew the dirk as the S.K. looked at me nervously, and the dirk
flew from my hand and into the theatre (no one was hurt). With an
inarticulate roar I hurled myself at the S.K. and the stage manager
called a black-out. When I returned with the bleeding head of the S.K.,
someone in the audience called out very loudly, "What did yer do - bite
his ******* head off?"

Macduff Two: the famous TV actor playing Macduff lost his voice after
the first performance, the understudy was drunk and did not know the
part anyway, and I volunteered, going on with my lines carried in a
hastily-contrived "prayer-book," (I remembered most of them from years
before) and I faked my way through the sword-fight. I played the part
for nine performances until the summer festival went belly-up and we
were paid with quarters and dollars from the concession stand.

Angus: during the Arm

 

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