Blogging Macbeth 5 (Flock Theatre 2013) - The Bloody Maypole
First of all, I want to introduce you to my friend, who is new to LiveJournal!
Say hello to mamagavone, and her new blog "Necromancy and the Nerd Girl." She's doing some fascinating stuff there. Smart as hell, and Philly-funny besides.
She's a co-actor from Flock Theatre, currently our very own LADY MACDUFF.
I get to kill her tonight. Again.
Last night we had a Witch rehearsal. Witch 1 and Witch 3 and I met in the convent of St. Mary's Star of the Sea, with our Valiant Director and our Plucky Stage Manager, and we did some GOOD WORK.
We started with table work, which I think was really necessary. I'd been having some trouble connecting with the witches. First of all, an actor's main tool is her desire. The first and most basic question we must ask ourselves is, "What do you want?"
And, what's more, you know, it's sort of best when you can answer the question WITH THE TEXT!!!
So what does a witch want? What did Shakespeare say his witches wanted? What does that wanting, then, look like? How does it come through the body? The voice? The intent? How does it play out in our interactions??? GAH!
Well, we're agents of Hecate, right? (And NOT, apparently, very OBEDIENT ones either.) But what does that EVEN MEAN?
That means chaos, crossroads, Big Time Death and Dark Deeds.
"We're the TRANSITION TEAM!" I announced happily.
And Witch 1, just as gleeful: "Spiders. We're spiders. We start out with small webs and then they get bigger and bigger, and we weave faster and faster!"
And Witch 3, sprawling on the floor, elbows between her knees, chin in her palms: "I kind of want to be the clueless one... Can I pick at myself? Can I make farting noises with my mouth?"
What are we, really? Are we the weather? Are we the night? Are we cats and birds and toads? It doesn't matter, really, what matters is what we want.
What the BLEEPITY BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP do we WANT???
"'Cause," said our director, pulling in a line from a different Jacobean Devil, "it's what you do."
It's what we do.
And HOW do we get Maximum Mayhem? WHO will give us what we need?
Not Banquo. He's too steady. Too sober. Too kingly and measured.
No. It's Macbeth, who shall be King Hereafter. Macbeth's OUR MAN! Macbeth will kill the king and bring the night. Macbeth will make HELL MURKY. (Well, his fiendlike queen SURE HELPS!) Macbeth - who is unstable, and greedy, perhaps too sensitive, too intelligent, too long subordinate to Duncan, too ready to be told something he has been longing to hear.
Macbeth who is willing to be seduced.
So ladies, let's seduce him!
Not with modern seductions. Not with the down and dirty sexy twerky tits-to-the-wind 21st Century Halloween costume witchiness.
But with stillness and with storm, with prophecy and manipulation. O what fatal webs we weave...
As witches we must each have very specific, very individual physicalities and vocalizations. Then, as a unit, we must be something else entirely, something that is one. How do we do that?
Well, we've got this pole. No, not that kind of pole.
The basement of St. Mary's Star of the Sea Church is a place full of stone pillars and metal poles. Our theatre-in-the-round set up puts one of these poles smack dab in the middle of our playing space.
It is the axis of our great wheel. Our wheel of fortune. Our awful clock. Or - as the latest metaphor goes - our gladiator's ring.
That pole, man, might have been the most inconvenient impediment to audience sightline any director ever wanted to cut down with a hack saw... But!!!
Our Michael, who has no right to be so clever, has transformed impediment into the Most Beautiful Thing.
It's a FRIKKIN DEATH POLE, YO!
It's where people die, when they die. It's where the blood will go. (Should we get permission.) The slip and slide of our red handprints. The arterial spurts. It is where Banquo gets PWNED. And MacDuff's kid stuck through. It's where the bloody soldier collapses at the beginning. Where Siward's kid falls at the end.
O THE POSSIBILITIES OF THAT PERILOUS POLE!
It's also the witch's cauldron.
It's the center of our power.
We set the stage. We're the first ones on. The first thing we do is go to the pole, and ENDOW IT. Or let it endow us. Or whatever...
Anyway, there is MAJOR ENDOWAGE occurring.
I have begun to think of my character as the Deathbird. Not only as Witch 2, but as Murderer 3 (whom I think is the witch in disguise, wanting in on the kill), and as Seyton at the end, who announces the death of the queen. I want a red thread binding each of them. I want a heart of darkness. Quick, bird-like gestures. Carrion crow stillness. Hoarse, deep vocals.
So that's it for today. Witches and poles.
My body is sore from flinging myself around at rehearsals yesterday. But gods, does it feel GOOD to be TEMPEST TOSSED.