Join Bob Smith on a journey through all of Shakespeare!
Class Schedule: Macbeth begins Tuesday, June 10th at 7:00 pm
Having just whipped through the fairy tale-like Pericles I think a summer stop at the ‘Scottish’ play should be fun for Nights with Shakespeare. Macbeth is by far Shakespeare’s most terse tragedy. And speaking of nights, it seems that no Shakespeare royal ever gets a good night’s sleep. Was the greatest writer in the world an insomniac?
Certainly the guilt-ridden Macbeth’s have particularly rough nights. From his depressive listlessness to her sleep walking, “Her eyes are open but their sense is shut.” And nothing can obliterate the stench of guilt. “All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.”
When I was nineteen I was in a Macbeth with Jessica Tandy. Kim Hunter played the first witch. The two great actresses had just finished their history-making stint as Blanche and Stella in Tennessee Williams’ Streetcar Named Desire!
As I wrote about that production in Hamlet’s Dresser, “It’s odd, considering its relentless brutality that Macbeth has such elegant language. Small scenes glisten. Like Duncan’s ill-fated arrival at Inverness when Shakespeare uses the nest-building martin to lift the audience up to the rarefied air of the Macbeth’s highland home.
Duncan This castle has a pleasant seat; the air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle senses.
Banquo This guest of summer, the temple haunting martlet, does approve, by his loved mansionary, that the heaven’s breath smells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze, buttress, nor coin of vantage, but this bird hath made his pendant bed, and the procreant cradle: where they most breed and haunt, I have observed the air is delicate.
Macbeth – Act One, Scene Six
Shakespeare the country boy pictures bucolic, idyllic summer as the little bird constructs his swinging cradle of a nest. Delicately suspended, like the lives of the two speakers, perilously on the very edge of disaster. Once night comes, stealth steals sweetness. And Macbeth, like Brutus, convinces himself to kill a monarch.” What a play! What a wonderful chance to share this splendid text with the remarkable people at Nights with Shakespeare. We are in our fifth year and as always, deep gratitude due for the sensitivity and generosity of R. D. Scinto. They make it all possible!
– Bob Smith
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