On Friday 13th January, 3rd of ESO through to 1st of Bachillerato went to an adapted version of the William Shakespeare play ‘Macbeth’. This was always going to be interesting for me as I studied the actual Macbeth play for my final exams in the Leaving Certificate back in Ireland.
In this adapted version, Duncan Mackenzie is the leader of a criminal gang in Glasgow in the 1930s as opposed to being the King of Scotland in the real play back in the Shakespearean era, first performed in 1606.
The story starts off with an attempted robbery on Duncan’s drug money, however Macbeth stops this from happening and kills the villains. It was thought that Duncan’s right-hand-man had given their rival gang, the Macdonalds, insider information, resulting in his execution. Macbeth and his Cousin (and close friend) Frankie celebrate their victory in the fairground, where they run into a fortuneteller who tells Macbeth he will become ‘Lord of Cawdor’ and later ‘King’. For me the title ‘Lord’ was very different, as Shakespeare used the title ‘Thane’, ultimately meaning the same thing.
The first prediction comes through, and Macbeth starts to think will he actually be King. It forever stays on his mind, until he tells his wife, Heather. They invite Duncan to their house where they plan on executing him, blaming it on the guards who got too drunk, planting the knife in their possession. Duncan’s daughter flees Glasgow as she feels she is not safe there. Frankie promises her he will keep an eye on Macbeth as he suspects him of being guilty of Duncan’s murder.
The Macbeth’s have a celebratory dinner, or ‘banquet’ as it is called in the real version. Macbeth cant get over is guilt and experiences aspirations of a ghost at the dinner table, but in real life there is nobody there. His guests think he is sick and a little bit crazy, however his wife covers for him and escorts the guests out.
Macbeth visits the fortuneteller again who tells him Frankie will become leader in the future, but that doesn’t worry Macbeth as he thinks nobody can harm him.
He begins to kill people in the gang, as they could be a potential threat to his leadership. But he ends up killing Macduff’s wife and child, planting a bomb in their car, Macduff getting away.
Macduff meets with Maggie to plan the murder of Macbeth. Heather cannot deal with all the murders her husband has committed, and sadly takes her own life. Macbeth is now weak, because he relied on the strength of his wife to keep going. Without her he is nothing. It all comes down to a final showdown between Macduff and Macbeth, but who will come out on top?
I thought the adapted version was very smartly put together and easy to understand. It was obviously difficult for the four actors who actively covered numerous characters throughout. I think myself and the teachers along with all the students enjoyed it. From my perspective, having studied Macbeth in Shakespearean English, this was a lot easier to understand, simple and yet very effective.
I would like to thank Don José for organizing this for the school, and for giving me the opportunity to see it.
Adam D. Hickey