Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank

Macbeth

Text in Performance

What is the Apparition Scene like?

The silk that we use in the apparition scene is an incredible material because if you billow it, it suddenly takes a shape of its own. That means that you can literally make things materialise from underneath it, using that space to enter below it and create things without anybody being able to see it. It’s a great thing to play around with and although it has been used a lot in theatre for lots of effects (I’m sure people have seen it used to create water for example), if you get it right you never tire of seeing it used for different effects.

This was very, really bold of them because on the Globe stage we don’t have lighting, so you can’t make a nice moody, low lighting and then do it so we were aware there was a challenge involved in that sense. Bill and Isla had thought of using smoke: smoke has a lovely atmosphere and again adds to the shape-shifting that occurs.

What’s really exciting about those physical things within the play is that it’s all got to really be relevant to the dialogue and the story that’s being told. All the timing had to come from the language, and we realised certain things had to dissolve in an instant because the story moved on, or Macbeth wants to hear more from the apparition and it’s gone, so that informs how speedily the whole picture has to disintegrate and change, morph into something else. Then it became really particular, it had to be very tightly orchestrated. Again that’s down to the actors perfecting the pace of their language. It’s a really great thing to work on.

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