Magayanes, Jireh Christi Jae U.
Reaction to Screen: Macbeth
The Tragedy of Macbeth, more commonly called Macbeth, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare depicting a regicide and its aftermath. In celebration of its centennial, the Department of English and Comparative Literature of the College of Arts and Letters of the University of the Philippines-Diliman presented the World Theatre Project’s Screen: Macbeth.
Screen: Macbeth is a recreation of the 17th century tragedy for a 21st century audience using hyper visual staging, with actors coming and going from all directions and props being thrown and falling from above. Instead of the typical proscenium-type theater, the ...view middle of the document...
Another commendable aspect of the play is how director Anton Juan incorporated Filipino elements to a very western play, especially evident in his depiction of the three witches. In the very beginning of the play, the witches entered the stage cackling as though they were crazy, filthy, dressed in rags, and carrying dirty sacks full of rubbish. The witches were imaged as “mga taong grasa”, an image very familiar to Filipinos because they are seemingly everywhere and they continuously increase in numbers. They are figures of widespread poverty in the Philippines and also neglect on behalf of the government. Also, instead of English, the three witches delivered their lines in various Filipino dialects (Ivatan, Tagalog and Sugbuanon), which not only produces an effect of eeriness and confusion appropriate for their appearances but also makes the audience feel familiarity towards the play and its theme, bringing across the message that the thought of the play does not only apply to western audiences but also to Filipinos as well. Because of the change in the witches’ representation, there is added meaning in their presence in the play aside from their original purpose. In the story, the three witches are symbols of confusion, conflict, and temptation. They did not tell Macbeth directly to kill King Duncan, instead they told him he is destined to be king, thus directing him to the path that would eventually lead to his destruction, and in the process creating chaos and discord in the kingdom.
Despite the chaos, conflict and murders in Macbeth, there are quite a number of violent scenes that happened offstage. The most important of these scenes would probably be the killing of Duncan, which was the spring board to the action in the play. One can only hypothesize as to why the violent scenes were kept off stage. For one, I think it is to let the audience put their imaginations and thoughts to action. Also, I believe that it might be a representation of the minds of individuals; inside the minds of people there is an unseen corner where our basest desires are fulfilled, and even if it might seem crude, I believe one of them is murder or at least assuagement of violent emotions. Also, I think keeping certain scenes offstage serves to keep the focus of the audience to Macbeth- his reactions, thoughts and emotions- rather than the violence of the play. What audience should pay attention to is not the murders per se, but how they affect Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and eventually change the both of them and also everyone around them.
One of the main thoughts of the play is how justice was served to the Macbeths. In the first murder they committed, the murder of King Duncan, Macbeth is the weak one. He lacked the motivation to do the deed and if it weren’t for Lady Macbeth’s encouragement, he wouldn’t have done it. After doing the deed, he was assailed by guilt and his conscience kicked in. Lady Macbeth was the one who rectified his mistake of...