What a crowded train I was on at 9:30am on a Sunday morning! It was so bad that the guard announced that the first class carriages were available for anyone to sit in if they want, without the weekend supplemental charge. I’m thankful I do not have a first class season ticket. There are a LOT of children. The reason? The London Marathon was on today and they’ve all come to gawp and cheer and wave things at the runners.
On my trip into town, I was sat next to a woman who didn’t understand why anyone would run 26 miles. Her friend agreed and said she couldn’t run down the street, let alone a marathon. They are going to cheer on the husband of one of them. These two were off to Canary Wharf so will take the Jubilee line. I was rather thankful that everyone else transferred to the Tube as well when we arrived at Waterloo.
I wasn’t in town for the marathon (or anything else of a physical nature). I was on my way to the Globe to join the weasels to see Macbeth.
Well, it was terrible. The staging was fine but Lady Macbeth was pathetic. Where was her power? Her control? The direction was sadly bad. Macbeth himself was indeed a puppet but he had no puppet master. And while he looked very buff and you believed he could really wield that big sword he had, he was awfully melodramatic. The witches were good, the one good joke was played very well and Banquo’s ghostly appearance at the banquet was excellent, but other than that, it was all a bit wasted. It’s such a good play but not when you play it so simply.
Lady Macbeth didn’t have any power. All those wonderful lines, thrown away. Because she didn’t bring any power to the part, the audience had no idea why she did what she did. In a play dominated by testosterone, she needs to be the all powerful figure. The audience should believe she could control any of the men. Sadly she was a tiny waif amid the raw sexual strength of the warlords. She was the worst thing. Such a waste of a delicious role.
Duncan was very good. Him I believed! When he arrived at Cawdor, he stood with silence and power, surveying everything, happy that all his generals were behind him. His assassination should be made more awful because he believes Macbeth is with him.
Over all, it was a great disappointment but I think that was because I know the play too well. The previous plays were new experiences but this one was way too well known. Interestingly, one of our party had never been to anything like it and was enthralled throughout. So, really, what do I know?
The most bizarre thing was the sheet with holes in it. The pit at the Globe is where the majority of the audience stands for £5. I’ve never understood how anyone can stand up for an entire Shakespeare play but there’s always a lot of them. Groundlings, they’re called. Generally they just peer up at the thrust of the stage, a sea of eager faces all muddled in together. But not for Macbeth.
Someone (the designer, the director, someone’s mum…I don’t know) saw an old painting of a production which had the audience poking their heads through a sheet. And so, liking this idea, it was replicated for this production. It was supposed to resemble a battlefield, full of decapitated heads, which it did. The funniest thing was when people looked down, leaving just a mass of hair sitting on the sheet like so much seaweed. Quite affective. It also provided an opportunity for characters to suddenly appear through the holes, writhing in agony, blood covering them. Also the witches could suddenly appear and vanish. It worked well but not quite enough to carry the rest of the play.
Anyway, we saw the play, ate our usual picnic in our gentleman’s box which, incidentally, was on the opposite side to where we usually are, then walked to a pub (or four) and drank too much beer.
A few of us had a lot of fun around Trafalgar Square pretending to be tourists. Sean and I climbed up by the lion’s mouth and Bev took our picture. That was fun!
I caught a late train home, drunk. With lots of people, presumably left over from the London Marathon who weren’t drunk.