Macbeth 2008: Opposite Poles

TR Warszawa's Shakespeare made vivid—and almost invisible

A blunt, violent Macbeth war machine
Pavel Antonov
A blunt, violent Macbeth war machine


Macbeth: 2008
Adapted from Shakespeare by Grzegorz Jarzyna
St. Ann's Warehouse
38 Water Street, Brooklyn

Jarzyna did not, in my view, stage a production of Macbeth, but his work compelled me to think about what Macbeth, as a play, might mean today, and whether staging it as a meaningful comment on the political life of our time is even possible. In contrast, Goold's production, like far too many similar notions-shop stagings I've seen, from all over Europe and America, merely made me feel the importance of keeping Shakespeare productions short, so that critics can get home early and forget about them. Whether there's room in our theatrical life for the play Shakespeare actually wrote, in between directors, like Jarzyna, who twist it into something else, and those, like Goold, who drown it in the lumpy gravy of their whims, remains an open question. How responsible can even the guiltiest Macbeth be, when you have an entire global system dedicated to murdering humanity's sleep?

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