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Showing posts from May 3, 2015

An All-Female Macbeth

A few thoughts after attending last Friday night’s performance of ‘Macbeth’ by the students of Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School in Melbourne.   The local girls’ school is currently performing an all-female ‘Macbeth’. Returning to the Scottish Play after many years is salutary and astonishing. One forgets yet how tight the drama is, how many memorable lines operate inside a “brief hour” on stage, how intensely everything spoken devolves to the psychodrama in Macbeth’s own mind. There are two openings, each setting the pace and direction for all that follows: the witches’ first scene and then, quite separately, Duncan’s arrival. “What bloody man is that?” is the opening line of the action really, and it surprises and shocks still, not least when coming from the mouth of a Year Ten schoolgirl. As if the witches did not instantly catch our attention, Shakespeare then uses a swearword in the mouth of a king. The Jacobean audience, highbrow and lowbrow, would have been caught