Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Curse . . . of the Concept

In 2008, Patrick Stewart played the Thane of Cawdor on Broadway, and in advance of the production, Ellen Anthony wrote about the curse of Macbeth for the online Broadway magazine

Perhaps the pre-show discussion warded off all evil because the show played to packed houses and was a critical success.  Many people objected to director's choice of Fascist themes and 1940's totalitarian world, but most found Stewart's portrayal of the ill-fated Thane that shall be king refreshing.  As Ben Brantley noted in his review of the play, Stewart found a way to mix the introspection of Hamlet and the murderousness of Richard III.

But the thing about Macbeth is that modern directors like to turn it into a concept play -- something where the idea or the world that Macbeth inhabits is more important than the play itself.  Then, when the critics don't like the play, it's easy to blame the curse.  But audiences and critics alike come to the theater to see the play.  Consider this review of last year's RSC production.

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