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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: January ::
Wordless Macbeth
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0041  Wednesday, 17 January 2007

[1] 	From: 	Larry Weiss <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 17 Jan 2007 15:11:15 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0037 Wordless Macbeth

[2] 	From: 	Stuart Manger <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 17 Jan 2007 20:18:27 +0000 (GMT)
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0037 Wordless Macbeth

[3] 	From: 	John Drakakis <
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	Date: 	Thursday, 18 Jan 2007 15:36:39 -0000
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 18.0037 Wordless Macbeth

[4] 	From: 	Hardy M. Cook <
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	Date: 	Thursday, January 18, 2007
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0037 Wordless Macbeth


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Larry Weiss <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 17 Jan 2007 15:11:15 -0500
Subject: 18.0037 Wordless Macbeth
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0037 Wordless Macbeth

How can a mute "Hamlet" be said to be Shakespeare's play rather than, 
say, Kyd's (?) "Hamlet" or Saxo's or Belleforest's or "Die Beschrafte 
Brudermord"?

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Stuart Manger <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 17 Jan 2007 20:18:27 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: 18.0037 Wordless Macbeth
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0037 Wordless Macbeth

Maybe it shows shocking taste on my part, but frankly, when I read this 
posting, I thought it was an elaborate joke.

Wordless Shakespeare? Wordless maybe, but without the words Shakespeare 
it ain't.

Stuart Manger

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		John Drakakis <
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Date: 		Thursday, 18 Jan 2007 15:36:39 -0000
Subject: 18.0037 Wordless Macbeth
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0037 Wordless Macbeth

It's like 'What's My Line' Terry - a TV panel show that you and I will 
remember.  The actors do a bit of mime and the audience guesses what 
they're up to!  In the interval they sell tins of London Fog (to be 
opened only in the dark!).

Cheers,
John Drakakis

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Hardy M. Cook <
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Date: 		Thursday, January 18, 2007
Subject: 18.0037 Wordless Macbeth
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0037 Wordless Macbeth

I Washington, D.C., suburban newspaper, The Falls Church News-Press, has 
a piece on the Wordless Macbeth.

http://www.fcnp.com:80/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=745&Itemid=36

A 'Macbeth' With All the Moves, None of the Words
By Nicholas F. Benton
Thursday, 18 January 2007

Shakespeare without the words. There are two opportunities to experience 
this during the opening stages of the Shakespeare in Washington festival 
this month. One is the production of Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" by 
the Kirov Ballet at the Kennedy Center this weekend. The other is the 
longer-running production of "Macbeth" by the Synetic Theatre Company at 
the Spectrum in Rosslyn.

Maybe it's because I make my living as a word-smith. Maybe it's because 
the development of language has been key to the evolution of the species 
out of the muck. Maybe it's because the invention of moveable type has 
been the precondition for the liberation of mankind from tyranny. Maybe 
it's because Shakespeare, in particular, has not only demonstrated but 
has conveyed to millions the enormous power of words through his plays 
and poetry.

Maybe that's why the idea of Shakespeare without his words can be 
puzzling. It seems kind of like turning off the loudspeakers during 
Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, or asking Michael Jordan 
to play without a ball.

But perhaps it's a great tribute to Shakespeare, to the fact that his 
works are so well known by almost everyone, that word-less, alternative 
artistic forms of presenting his plays can further enhance and deepen 
the public appreciation of him.

This is how I take, in particular, the highly creative and entertaining 
Synetic Theatre production.

To make up for the lack of a single word spoken in the non-stop 1 hour, 
40 minute show, there is an amazing amount of energy and expression. 
There is perhaps no one single term to describe what they do, but it is 
centered around motion. Part ballet, part modern dance, part mime, part 
animated facial expressions, symbolic gestures, drama, humor and, of 
course, overall visual storytelling. As they call it, "The Art of 
Silence." The cast works with a single, dark set, utilizing three trap 
doors with a tiny crawl space beneath that the audience, of course, does 
not see. There's no intermission, and lots of smoke and loud, haunting 
piped-in mood music.

To sum it up, I loved it. It's pretty clear when Lady Macbeth is 
pronouncing, "Out, out damn spot!," and little doubt what's going on at 
any point (I do recommend brushing up on the story before showing up. 
There is a synopsis in the program).

But you don't have to concentrate on the story line if you don't want 
to. I found it better to just sit back and let it pull me in. It's a 
total sensual experience, a sheer delight, even if at times its surreal, 
slow-motion segments reminded me of one of those flashbacks from my 
misspent youth.

It starts off in smashing fashion with the witches' scene. That one has 
always permitted directors great opportunity for creativity, and this is 
no exception. Even for spoken productions of "Macbeth," this opening 
with the witches would be grand.

[ . . . ]

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