Check back for more interviews and other information about Tara Arts's forthcoming production of Macbeth. Coming very shortly!
Before rehearsal: JV (director) and CM (designer) talking:
CM I went through the text and you fill an Index book with the words of the play. It’s like a skeleton.
JV I suddenly realised that the word ‘love’ and the endearments are solely between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth - no one else, not even Macduff and Lady Macduff. And this begins to influence my casting decisions. Those two actors must not double. Whatever else I do, they need to be this little island; at its extreme they are a pair of lovers by themselves and there’s this maelstrom around them. So this exercise of Claudia’s, while for you it’s useful in terms of design, for both of us it’s also the starting point - actually confronting the text.
JV ‘Blood, bleeding, bloody’ – every time Macbeth does yet another terrible thing, I really don’t want him to: ’No, God, don’t, don’t!’ There’s this personality which you can’t help but want to protect.
But the words are there. The words confirm that, yes, he’s bloody beyond measure. So you can’t go too far either way, saying he’s totally wicked or he’s a man wronged and controlled by others. It’s a way of pinning yourself down so that you can’t go on flights of fancy.
CM You think, ‘This play is all about something’: you find that actually it’s not. ‘Blood’ and ‘bloody’ in Macbeth happen a lot but actually you have ‘time’ and ‘darkness’ and thickness and texture.
JV And then ‘day’ and ‘night’ and ‘when? ’ and ‘tomorrow’. That for me connects with the Indian aesthetic of rasa - rasa is taste. Each play has a dominant rasa - not the only one, but from the ‘watchmaking’ you see what the dominant colour is. One of the words, or feelings, that comes through with Macbeth is Time. Then you think about the two worlds, the witches’ and the Macbeths’; you find it’s actually Time that connects them all.
JV Is this a ‘play of the gods’, is this a moment in time that is going to repeat after the death of Macbeth? The whole thing is going to start again? And if so, how do we make that clear for a multiracial audience?