Macbeth – 2000

Director Michael G Williamson

‘What, can the Devil speak true?’

In 1605 Ben Jonson and his fellow playwrights had incurred the anger of James 1, and a term of imprisonment, for the production of ‘Eastward Ho’, performed by the boys of Blackfriars, which poked fun at James’ Scottish accent and at the honour and privileges accorded to the Scottish supporters he had brought south with him. The notorious Gunpowder Plot was soon to shock both the English Protestants and the loyal English Catholics who feared a backlash and it was with all these issues in mind that Shakespeare embarked upon his only play with a Scottish theme.

What may have given him his inspiration was a short pageant performed for James in late August of 1605 when he was visiting Oxford with the Earl of Southampton. This depicted Banquo’s greeting by three ‘weird sisters or fairies’ as ‘no king but to be the father of many kings’, as recounted in Holinshed’s Chronicles, and was meant as a compliment to James who claimed direct descent from Banquo. A further pandering to James may be indicated by the fact that the play is one of Shakespeare’s shortest, and shows signs of cuts. The king had a notoriously low boredom threshold!

The result is a fast moving adventure story of great power. The blood-soaked plot is redeemed by the speed and power of the narrative and a central character who, though a murderer of awesome brutality, possesses a fascinating mind full of dark poetic introspection. As Schlegel so aptly concludes ‘Since Aeschylus, nothing so grand and terrible has ever been composed’.

This will be the second time that Macbeth has been presented at ‘The George’. The first production by John Sheard was in the hot summer of 1976, when actors wilted a little in their furs! It is a difficult play to present in the daylight and can too easily descend into melodrama. We hope that our patrons will forgive us if the occasional noises from a working hotel interfere a little with the moments of drama and suspense.

Macbeth can be enjoyed at many levels. On the surface it is a fast moving story of witchcraft, murder and retribution. At a deeper level it explores the philosophy and psychology of evil itself. For many years it has held the fascination of audiences and challenged performers and it is with tremendous excitement that The George Trust once more present this truly great play.

 

Cast

DUNCAN, King of Scotland Michael Storey

MALCOLM, his elder son, later Prince of Cumberland Jon Roberts

DONALBAIN, his younger son Angus Macraild

DOCTOR Hugh Prior

MACBETH, Thane of Glamis, later Thane of Cawdor, later King of Scotland Paul Allen

LADY MACBETH, his wife Carolyn Noble

SEYTON, Porter and Servant to Macbeth Ken Luxon

STEWARD, to Macbeth Richard Briggs

GENTLEWOMAN, attending Lady Macbeth Karen Bays

MACDUFF, Thane of Fife Gary Mackay

LADY MACDUFF, his wife Elizabeth Graham

MACDUFF, sons Oliver Scott, Joseph Plum

MACDUFF, daughter Anwen Pugh

BANQUO, Thane of Lochaber Andy Kendon

FLEANCE, his son Chris Owens

Thane of ROSS Jonathan Salt

Thane of LENNOX John Freeman

Thane of MENTEITH Mark Usher

Thane of CAITHNESS Mark Hebert

Thane of ANGUS Aidan Hervey

HECATE Stephanie Waller

1st WITCH Carol Houghton

2nd WITCH Susan Painter

3rd WITCH Rossana Godsland

4th WITCH Manuela Daniels

5th WITCH Victoria Welsh

6th WITCH Sarah Marsters

SIWARD, son of the Earl of Northumberland Bob Pugh

SOLDIERS John Davies, Eric Joyce, Gary Barton

 

Production Team

Director Michael G Williamson

Assistant to Director Gary Mackay

Set Designer Colin Chalk

Stage Manager Malcolm Lyons

Assistant Stage Manager Chris Hunnam

Wardrobe Mistress Jo Fradley

Costumes: Design and Creation Jo Fradley, Terry Dick, Leah Petts, Richard Rosendale

Armour created by Paul Binns, Peter Seymour

Drums created by Phil Bleazey

Poster Design Brian Bames

Music Adviser Michael Black

Musical interludes by The Troubadours

Stage Construction Kirton Construction

Continuity Ruth Sherrington

Properties Emma Heggie, Mavis Davies, Jo Slee

Sound Team Steve Goodwin, Amanda Leaden, Maggie Redgrave

Lighting Team Mel Pugsley, Roger Blackmore, Ruth Taylor, Graeme Hammond, Adam Bright, Fiona Peacock

Construction / Backstage Team Kevin Attwood, Jeremy Bays, Bob Pugh, Andy Wilmot

Make-up Team Diana Mackay, Mary Fishwick, Graeme Hammond, Maggie and Hilary Lavin, Dee Wormald, Jan Sheppherd, Julia Alexander

Fights arranged by Paul Allen

Publicity Dee Wormald and Team

Box Office Cheryl Cook, Michael Cook

Photographs Simon Ellis ABIPP AMPA

Front of House & Sales Trish James, Sam Sturgeon, Ruth Pugh, Marie Jones, Emma Wilmot and Team

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