Set in Scotland and beset by magic, Macbeth is a story of vaulting ambition and arrogance in a time of violence and swirling evil. Therefore it is always relevant, always contemporary and always instructive. It is about thresholds that you cross. Macbeth crosses one and then another in a series of points of no return. His unfettered ambition destroys his friendships, alliances and eventually his marriage.
It was easy to set the play in a period that was not prescriptive, slightly supernatural and slightly dystopian. I wanted to examine how the 'heroic' aspect of war quickly distorts and morphs into politics and power play and, ultimately, more pointless conflict and the 'collateral' death of civilians. At the start of the play Macbeth is a patriot, a war hero. He is an active, bloody, violent man. Later he is horrified at the sight of blood.
In Shakespeare's time there was an active belief in the supernatural. There was also an equal and active belief in the subordination - indeed active denigration - of women. Traditionally the witches are cast as hideous hags. This fits with the conviction of the time that all aberrant women were 'witches', and therefore necessarily evil, ugly and worthy of contempt. All the better to burn at the stake then. Macbeth and Banquo's treatment of the Weird Sisters is misogynistic and fully representative of the values of the time. Behaviour which resonates, even today. The Weird Sisters are the metaphor for fate, destiny and truth so I prefer to present them as more representative of every woman ever maligned for her appearance. These are beautiful creatures who, summarily insulted by powerful men, choose to deliver unto them their ghastly fates. Natural justice served by supernatural means. That we have a male witch (an unexpected event also served up by fate) is a happy coincidence in keeping with the Shakespearean tradition of female characters played by boys (women not being permitted on stage).
This is a large and relatively young cast. They have acquitted themselves well. Shakespeare is always a challenge and the cast of exceptional young talent has worked tirelessly on this production for six months - twice a week, after school. That is a big ask for any actor, let alone a student. They have unearthed capacities and acquired skills which are transferrable and which will last forever. They are a talented group and they deserve all the respect and accolades they can get for their hard work and dedication in bringing Macbeth alive to Kormilda College in 2015.
Ms Pauleen Hayes | PERFORMING ARTS CURRICULUM COORDINATOR