Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0106. Thursday, 10 February 1994.
From:           Robert F. O'Connor <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Thursday, 10 Feb 1994 10:32:15 +1000
Subject:        Psychotic Macbeth
Dear SHAKSPEReans,
John Bell, formerly of the RSC, now runs a privately-funded group, the Bell
Shakespeare Company, here in Australia.  Over the past few years they have
toured extensively, usually performing three plays in repertory.  This year
they are performing 'The Taming of the Shrew' and 'Macbeth'. , the common
theme being the issue of marriage. In a recent interview, Bell - who will be
playing Macbeth - stated that he was: "researching serial killers and sex
murderers because I think those things are very much part of _Macbeth_ . . . I
have been struck by the number of couples, men and women teams, who have
engaged in serial killing, perversion and ambitious takeovers because of the
impotence of the marriage, a relationship that is hollow at its centre."
I have read a number of psychoanalytic critiques of 'Macbeth' lately, and I can
certainly see the connections that could be established between serial killers
or sex offenders and the sexual violence in the play, but I can't help but
think that this kind of approach over-psychologises Macbeth's motivations - as
did a local production I saw last year which drastically reduced the
appearances of the Weird Sisters.  I would like to know what other SHAKSPEReans
think of Bell's proposition, or if similar approaches have been tried in recent
productions overseas.
Robert F. O'Connor

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