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Patrick Stewart- Key Performance Choices

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This version of Act 3 Scene 4 including Patrick Stewart is a much more modernised version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. We know this as the scene starts off straight after a war with guns. The setting is also not set in the era of Shakespeare. With regards to the setting, it is quite basic and I think this adds to the abstract nature of the piece. If it focused on realism and naturalism, then a detailed setting would make it look realistic however it focused massively on the supernatural element of the play allowing the setting to be barer.

The semiotics of the scene starts off in an empty room with a table and a large poster which makes it more striking to the eye. It is a basically a propaganda poster and resembles almost a Stalin poster. It represents tyranny and for me I more sinister side of Macbeth that I haven’t explored too much. When the scene looks at the guests, they all look very frightened of Macbeth, not daring to do any action that he might disapprove of. One example of this is when one of the guests, starts drinking a little earlier than everyone else, Macbeth mocks him. We see Macbeth as a dictator and what is even more striking is that Lady Macbeth is frightened of him as well. It becomes ironic when Macbeth says ‘Be large in mirth’ because everyone is instead frightened of this one man. Even the murderer, is scared when he talks to Macbeth. If a murderer is afraid of Macbeth, then who is! Due to everyone’s fright of Macbeth, he can say everything out loud in public and no-one would dare be suspicious or even look up from eating.

A very strong performance choice is the use of the witches. The witches at the beginning of the scene are handing out the food and already this creates an unnatural atmosphere. It gives the audience clues that something supernatural will happen. Then when they sit on Macbeth’s seat, it is almost like they are summoning Banquo to come. When Macbeth sits down in the same chair there is an eerie build up before Banquo covered in blood walks over the table and on his way spills a cup full of wine.

The wine is a metaphor for blood as if Macbeth is casually spilling blood and killing lives. The lights become light blue making the atmosphere have a cold and death-like feel. In slow motion, Macbeth looks up at Banquo’s face, but then quickly jumps out of his seat in shock. In the ghost section we get to see both viewpoints of there being a ghost and not. The director lets us see it in the eyes of the guests thinking that Macbeth is a mad man, and in Macbeth’s eyes as well forcing us to give him a little bit of sympathy.

After the second hallucination, Lady Macbeth becomes very aggressive and tells everyone to leave. When everyone leaves, Lady Macbeth is left crying and distressed while Macbeth is standing and not caring. At the end very powerfully, Macbeth drags Lady Macbeth off which portrays Macbeth in a much more aggressive and violent man than any other versions

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