Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hubble, bubble

We went to see Macbeth on Saturday at the new theatre in Stratford. Stratford looked just like it used to on bank holidays when we used to go on charabanc trips; not an inch to spare on the grass by the river; people having picnics and kids with ice cream all over their clothes and faces. I know that's how they used to look because I have been searching out old photos to use as inspiration for my paintings. Mind you that world was black and white then, Stratford on Saturday was a blaze of colour.

I loved the play. I have seen it many times before, of course, but I just got carried away by the whole theatre experience on Saturday. Stewart who "did" Macbeth for O level told me they had missed chunks out and fiddled around with the beginning. I am glad I wasn't so "au fait" and hope Shakespeare would have relished my innocent enjoyment rather than the scepticism of the scholar.

They have restored the new theatre along the lines of the 16th century model, ie all tiered and tall, and the stage is in the round with four aisles leading from the auditorium to the exits. Being a disabled bod I was right on the edge of one of these aisles and had actors tearing around, up and down alongside me, breathing down my neck in fact. It did make me wonder if when they were in the aisles, were they still Macbeth or McDuff or were they anxious actors getting ready to be in the next right place at the next right time. When did they stop acting or that bit of acting when they are actually in character?

Yesterday at Aiobheann's funeral, there was a lot of acting going on I guess. People putting on brave faces. I held it together until Ceri from over the road stumbled tearfully but successfully through a poem. I wept and it was not just for Aiobheann. Lots of lovely things were said about her and that wasn't an act. People kept saying how well I looked and so my act was paying off under the thick stage make-up I metaphorically wear. I wear it to dim sum with my niece; awesome crystal scallops, I tell her I am not afraid and at the moment I am not. I wear it to Easter Sunday outings with my nearest and dearest and indeed I wear it to Stratford, carried with me in my own version of the charabanc trip.

At the funeral one of my caps fell out. What I didn't tell you about Macbeth was that the witches weren't witches but ghostly fay children. I quite liked this as it seemed to follow a theme of the whole play. But if the directors change their minds and decide to go back to the original idea well here I am ready and waiting, toothless and witch like, and no make up required.


  1. I really enjoyed this post.
    Your writing is such a pleasure to read Jean; very accomplished!

  2. I enjoyed your post too. I was fascinated and touched with this peep of an insight into your life. Thanks for sharing.