Hacking at the head

I was in a darkened auditorium with a simple stage before me featuring a pond, a lake, and 3 school girls. They squealed a little and took a selfie, like regular young folk. They seemed naive but within minutes they were mumbling something about hurley burleys before uttering that fateful name … “Macbeth”. For the next 100 minutes, I watched transfixed as the cast of 7 schoolgirls offered their spirited and immaculate craft, while my emotions and attention gradually spiralled out of control. I was humoured, then entertained, then amazed, then transfixed, then fearful, then appalled, and finally enraptured.

It’s hard for me to describe just how excellent they were. I’ve watched many versions of Macbeth in the past few years, including the most excellent movie with Patrick Stewart, and the older but wonderfully colourful one by Roman Polanski. These schoolgirls were fiends of expression and they changed character on a dime, allowing only 7 of them to cover all of the players in this game of kings. They ran around the stage with large knives that I swear were sharp and real. They birthed bloodied baby dolls and danced with them. They slashed, drowned and then hacked off the head of one their kin in a gritty 2-minute scene full of visceral grunting and panting.

Throughout the night, I became increasingly amazed and impressed that a handful of schoolgirls could be so talented and confident to come out on a school night and dish up the goods to a bunch of trendy adults in New York City. I’m saying schoolgirls, and indeed they were dressed and acting as schoolgirls, but I later realised that they’re all university students or recent graduates. Phew, that makes more sense. It was either my bad eyes or just their amazing acting and costumes that made them seem thoroughly believable as younglings. I often forgot that they were even female, as their masculine rage, ambition, and power was unleashed.

This night reminded me what a thrill it is to live in a major metropolis like NYC, where you can seize occasional deals to amazing shows. This is the city that never sleeps, and after watching this spectacle tonight, I’m not sure I will either.

Links:
– A review of the play Mac Beth – https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/20/theater/mac-beth-review.html
– Patrick Stewart’s Macbeth – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEF5eKcd-PA
– Cliff’s Notes – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zt13FbL1xyw

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