Welles’ Macbeth

Posted in Theater on May 4, 2007 by ephisus

macbeth_welles.jpg Having recently finished a run of Twelfth Night as Sir Toby, and the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company gearing soon to do a production of ‘Macbeth’ in the Fall, I have ordered a number of Film Renditions of ‘Macbeth’. There are a couple of reasons.

I’m not sure if I’m going to be auditioning for Macbeth at CSC, but I’m absolutely positive that I would *like* to. Macbeth is not my favorite Shakespeare, then again, neither was Twelfth Night… it was still the highlight of my schedule for 3 months. CSC is fairly prolific though, and there will be a lot of talent at the audition– a lot more than I was tested against for Twelfth Night, and if I do go– I would like to get the role I want.

Which begs the question– Which role do I want?

So I ordered 3 renditions of Macbeth on film- one by Welles from the , one by Polanski… and one by some other british guy that no one has ever heard of. Macbeth left a bad taste in my mouth back in high school, before I dropped out, so I haven’t put a lot of study into it until now. The objective is to get intimately familiar with a variety of interpretations of the Characters, so as to be well prepared to have a fun audition, and possibly an enjoyable role.

I watched the first subject of this study yesternight; the legendary, often elitist, teh aw3$om3: Orson Welles. His Macbeth was released in 1948 by Mercury, casting himself in the title role, a very young and shrill Roddy Mcdowall as Prince Malcolm, and, fascinately: Dan O’Herlihy as Macduff, Well Known for portraying one of the most annoying Characters of science fiction film, the spiritual ancestor of Jar Jar Binks himself: Grig from The Last Starfighter. Raspy laughs abound.

So, like all Shakespeare, the plot is simple: the exposition is the art:

Macbeth is told he will be King by some witches, He kills people and becomes King after his wife insists that he pursue this prophecy, he is plagued by guilt, his wife kills herself, drunken of guilt from her own part. The rightful heir comes with an Army, and his general cuts off Macbeth’s head. The end.

I should note here for folks who don’t know: Acting is often described thus, in the school of thought that I adhere to: You are acting like yourself, in an infinite number of situations. You’re a murderer? You have to build yourself a world where you yourself would actually do such a thing, even if it’s only emotionally.

Part of the reason that Shakespeare is so enduring is that it is so open for a variety of interpretations.

Watching Welles’ Macbeth… he does not really believe himself when he is loyal to the King. When he says, “If fortunes make me King”, he is already rather broken on this statement.

I’m thinking that my Macbeth would be resolute on this: The reason for the fall is not internal conflict on what the witches said, but something else; Love.

Lady Macbeth is a flawed, flawed character, and I see Lord Macbeth realizing this fairly well. But there is a large amount of text devoted to their relationship. Most performances, including, to a degree, Welles’ seem to focus on the duality of Macbeth’s love for his wife.

For me: Macbeth’s masculinity is easy. He is a warrior of good fortune at the beginning: and he and his wife have been elevated in position very quickly. And Macbeth loves his manliness, his loyalty to the King is part of his outward manifestation of this, on top of that, people are telling him that he will be the King, eventually. High times of affirmation.

He swoops to his wife, but instead of being the loving jewel on his good fortune, she wants the crown. And she attacks his masculinity when the the idea is foul to him.

My Macbeth would be ripped to shreds, not for his own pride in his fortune, but because of utter devotion to the love of his woman. Even the prophecy would cease to be a serious concern or incentive: and the tragedy, the humanity, that would, hopefully, be observed in him, after the crown was taken for the sake of his wife, would be the main thrust of the character.

He doesn’t let his wife know about the continuing treachery in holding the crown; because he sees her as his last dying link to the life that he wanted; and when she becomes overwrought with guilt and grief, there is a brief moment when they are together in that; and she abandons him again by taking her own life; leaving him to deal with the consequences.

My Macbeth would loose the hold on his sanity. That would be the course of his woe.

We’ll see if any of the other famous performances take this kind of harsh depiction of Macbeth’s motivations; where instead of a– rosencrantz and gildenstern are dead sort of inevitability– Macbeth is plagued by his own desires, his own pursuits, and they don’t have even remotely to do with attaining the kingship.

I was thinking earlier in this process that I would like to take the role on Banquo, or Macduff, or one of these lesser, though possibly very emotional roles, because, so far as I knew it, Macbeth was a little flat– he staggers around in a guilty stupor, just facing the inevitable crash.

But now that I examine the character for myself, I think that he can be much more dynamic, much more expressive, and I want him. I want to show the audience a man of passion, loyalty, and love that has his aspirations and virtue ripped from him, and his life loosed of all meaning at the instant he attains what everyone desires, because of his unwise inclination to place his happiness above truth and good.

So maybe I will read for Macbeth. Still, Macduff is quite the bad-ass, and would be no less fun to play.

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5 years?

Posted in Loukusisms, Writing on April 26, 2007 by ephisus

I realized that I stopped writing poetry regularly half a decade ago.

Bandwidth Question, maybe, been writing screenplays (trying to) for much of that time. Or perhaps something deep like retreat and comfort… Doesn’t matter, really. Should poetry really make sense to people?

The Love Broker’s Test

I have heard it said, often,
How I am unwise.

I have seen you see that Fear
that puts me to my motion.

But

For all of those, I am now barren.
Ungirded before your stern stone shine-less walls

Did not you see me there?
With tears of sand, In thick loud yellow heat?

Stupid and brash and bold, and to and for the brink, thus.
To gaze into the inch wide gap between you, me, plus us.

But, there was no new and gleaning truth.
So and back, and back. and back, and back.

Wond’ring at my lack-full suit with loud and listless sighs.

Ridiculous, at best.

Posted in Film Score Composition, Loukusisms, Projects on April 26, 2007 by ephisus

It’s strange, the things we can become attached to. This particular thing, for me, is hard to reconcile in certain ways.

Petra.

Let me preface, saying that I have very little interest in 80’s culture, or indeed, mostly anything post 1950’s, aside from advances in filmmaking.

That said, I have a ridiculous attachment to the music of what basically amounts to a Christian Hair band. Stood next to my other interests… Very serious, dramatic and often abstract films, Shakespeare, Classical music, This kind of fare… well, it sticks out a little.

I don’t know that this can merely be attributed to youthful attachment– there were a great number of other artists– artists that I enjoyed much more from my parent’s library of music, which I would not listen to with such regularity today.

— Petra does not even have a vague gothic appeal that would align with my interests in period pieces and classical styles. These guys are wearing sweat bands… not Shakespearean Ruffs.

Highly Irregular.

I’ve been meaning to do a tribute… a fan edit synching Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ Footage with Petra’s Track “It is Finished”… and allow it to leak around a little on the internet.

Looking at the concept though, i get the impression that only someone like me, with this crazy out-of-suit fascination that just happens to fall where it does, would get any real enjoyment out of it.

Hmm.

Lie thou there in the opinion of Pythagorus

Posted in Sex on April 24, 2007 by ephisus

My grand’rents were in town this past weekend, just in time for my show.

My time with my mother’s parents has been far between, their interests being sometimes mobile, and nearly always states away, at least. When i was younger, I would see them for a week– or so, at a time, maybe once a year. It has logrithmically dropped as I’ve entered adulthood, with all the responsibility and demand that comes with such a transition.

Anyway, I was very quiet as a Kid. And a teenager. Only in the past 2 years have i developed what my father describes as a voice befiting a boatswain. And then, only in character, much of the time.

Point is, for all my idealistic zeal for Christianity, I realized that my grandparents must have very little idea of that. I suspect that information to such an effect would not flow freely between certain elements of my extended family, if people even cared to speak on it.

I remembered a few years ago, my grandmother asked me, with a sullen look on her face, a very round about question about the nature of my belief in God. I simply said, ‘yes’, in a way which, in hindsight, was probably easily dismissed as parrotting or passive acceptance. Perhaps that was enough for ease, even, to some degree.

I availed myself of the recent opportunity.

Through the course of the half day that I had in their presence, I spoke with my grandmother, offering first the knowledge of my vow to not kiss until marriage, and following this into my personal beliefs about the importance of marriage, and being unabashed about my statements on sexuality, on its sanctity, and absolute necessity for me and my peers, and the deep pangs associated with my inability to explore it morally in the context of a marriage.

She was perhaps a little overwhelmed, but relieved I think. Perhaps she would not ask before because she was afraid that she would hear the typical sidestepping drivel that my peers throw at authority figures on the subject. Perhaps it was too taboo for her. But, I put it out there for her to see.

After the half day of reflection on my recent stage performance, said philosophical discussions, and review of my videography work, I prepared to leave for other enagements, she hugged me, and said, “Keep up the good work.”

I wasn’t sure which she meant. Perhaps she meant my pursuit of financial stability and independence; it seemed likely.

I asked.

“Which work.”

“Your….”

She paused a long time, searching for a word.

“Attitudes” was the one she settled on.

I nodded. And left.

That Man Hath Much Music in Himself

Posted in Film Score Composition on April 17, 2007 by ephisus

I’ve loved Jesper Kyd‘s sound for years now, my first noteworthy editing project was for my boy scout troop back in 2003, and I used more than one track from him to set the moods.

Psuedo-wasting time on Wikipedia today, I learned that he is responsible for more video game scores than I had been aware of, including a game called “Freedom Fighters”… a real time strategy that I have almost no interest in, but sought out the music for many years ago when it was released, drawn by the dark electronics meshed with moody choral.

His other scores (notably the Hitman games) of interest are a wonderful mesh of powerful strings and ethnic sounds, even huge choral pieces that found a place on my playlist next to the likes of Carmina Burana, ‘O Fortuna’ and James Horner’s “Charging Fort Wagner”. It’s that good.

I thought, then, that Jesper Kyd was too good for video games, though the line between film and gaming continues to slowly disappear, and his style and energy have found a strong market in the gaming industry.

Now, though, in the knowledge that ‘Freedom Fighters’, which has been described aptly as a very pumped up, dramatic, epic, Vangelis sound (vastly different from his hitman scores); is in his list of credits, I don’t think there exists a composer as effectively prolific and capable of such a broad range of emotions and flavors, in video gaming or film, today.

The man is also slated to score ubisoft’s ‘Assassin’s Creed’, which, in spite of having largely fallen away from my gaming hobby, and in spite of dubious subject matter, I am eagerly awaiting….

In any case, it should be a wonderful mix of Kyd’s work to date, a score that should be rife with dark, religious overtones, and subtle action ques, and expansive ambiance, and healthy dose of choral goodness.

Also, with Luc Besson producing a hitman film for release next year, and Jesper Kyd appropriately slated to score it, I’m predicting that he will catch the eye of big budget filmmakers, and will easily top the kind of semipassable ripoff crap that we’re getting from the likes of Tyler Bates.

I hope Jesper Kyd goes far. I hope I go far and can work with him someday.