Evaluating Live Theatre: Session 2/7

First Impressions

Macbeth RSC 2018 | Peter Viney's Blog

As you will remember from last session, we are going to explore a production of Macbeth in order to eventually write a Live Theatre Evaluation in the style of a GCSE Drama, Section C exam response.

Last session we learned about the difference between a play and a production, and today we will explore how a director’s concept can be communicated through the theatrical elements of a production.

You will need a word document or a piece of paper to complete the work each week. You can submit a word document online or upload a photograph of your finished handwritten work.

Each session is divided into different parts. When you reach a task you need to complete, it will be labelled (A), (B) or (C)

Part 1: The director’s concept

The production we are going to watch was directed by Polly Findlay and performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon in 2018.

In an interview about the play, Polly Findlay said that she was influenced by the genre of horror films when creating her production of Macbeth. This formed the basis of her production concept.

(A) Create a mind-map of as many different characteristics of horror films as you can think of. Think about sound, music, lighting, special effects, locations, use of colour, atmosphere, plot and setting.

(B) Look again at the photograph at the top of the page. This is how Polly Findlay chose to portray the witches in her production. Write a paragraph describing the appearance of the witches and analysing why you think that this appearance might fit with the director’s vision and evaluating whether you think that this is an effective choice.

Part 2: Active viewing

Today we are going to begin watching Polly Findlay’s production.

Becoming absorbed in a piece of theatre allows you to become completely transported to another world, so I don’t want you to take any notes while you are watching the first part of the play. However, I would like you to switch on your analytical brain while you watch and become an active viewer.

As you watch, think about which of the characteristics of the horror genre can be seen in this production. Make a mental note of how the design elements (sound, lighting, set, props, costumes, casting choices) contribute to this vision.

(A) Watch the first 30 minutes of the production from 00.00-30.42

(B) Now that you have watched the first part of the play, imagine you are trying to advertise this production to a reader of a film magazine. Write a 100 word teaser for Polly Findlay’s production of Macbeth, in which you explain, using examples from the play, why this production would appeal to lovers of horror movies.

Alternative (B) Make a list of all of the horror movie elements that you saw in the production.

In the next session, we will examine the ways in which the actors playing Macbeth and Lady Macbeth interpret their characters as the plot develops.