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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: January ::
Wordless Macbeth
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0058  Thursday, 26 January 2007

[1] 	From: 	Donald Bloom <
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	Date: 	Tuesday, 23 Jan 2007 12:19:58 -0600
	Subj: 	RE: SHK 18.0054 Wordless Macbeth

[2] 	From: 	Douglas Galbi <
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	Date: 	Wednesday, 24 Jan 2007 18:41:02 -0500
	Subj: 	Wordless Macbeth


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Donald Bloom <
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Date: 		Tuesday, 23 Jan 2007 12:19:58 -0600
Subject: 18.0054 Wordless Macbeth
Comment: 	RE: SHK 18.0054 Wordless Macbeth

Has somebody already said this and I missed it (swamped with my own 
grading and play-acting concerns)?

If not, isn't it likely that "wordless" productions-however wonderful 
they may or may not be as theatrical experiences-aren't really wordless 
at all? That is, Shakespeare's "words" are so well known that we can 
leave them unspoken and still follow the story. Our memories supply what 
we need as to plot and even, to a lesser degree, character and meaning.

But could we have a wordless "Edward II" or, for that matter, "Edward 
III"? I think not. Even the less iconic plays of Shakespeare himself 
would work but poorly with any audience except English faculty and 
graduate students, and perhaps not even with them. We don't know the 
"words" well enough to supply them unconsciously.

Of course, you do leave out the poetry by not speaking the words, but 
that's always a problem for some people anyway.

Cheers,
don

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Douglas Galbi <
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Date: 		Wednesday, 24 Jan 2007 18:41:02 -0500
Subject: 	Wordless Macbeth

 >"The lack of psychological, aesthetic subtlety and depth simply
 >emasculates the original of all meaningful texture."

Words aren't necessary for "psychological, aesthetic subtlety and 
depth." See, e.g. the Mona Lisa, which is incomparably more than "a 
smiling woman."

 >"what it is that this contributes to our understanding of the play"

Persons just reading the text of Macbeth might not truly understand 
Macbeth as a tragic figure.  Synetic's play shows Macbeth and Lady 
Macbeth in a middle-class living space playing out a domestic drama of 
the sort that became prevalent with the development of the novel. 
Seeing husband and wife in bodily interaction contributes to 
understanding their unusual relationship, particularly for figures in 
tragedy.

The same weekend that I saw Synetic Theater's Macbeth, I also saw a 
production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Kennedy Center.  The 
visual contrast between those two productions is insightful.  I posted a 
video from Synetic Theater's Macbeth on my blog.  You can find video 
excerpts from the production of Virginia Woolf at 
http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/index.cfm?fuseaction=showEvent&event=THTSJ 


Douglas Galbi

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