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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope


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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It is a tale told by an idiot

Once every few months I venture into Toronto, and I always come home with lots of blog fodder. I often feel like I'm behind enemy lines there, and one of my favourite activities is to venture out among the student Marxists nursing their lattes at the Future Bakery on Bloor St at Brunswick Ave to have a coffee while proudly and publicly reading the National Post. On my last foray I picked up a copy of leftist weekly Now Magazine to see how the other half lives.

Well, the other half is out watching progressive theatre performances like Birnam Wood (running March 18 to March 27 at Theatre Passe Muraille) which is, I kid you not, the story of the battle of Dunsinane in Shakespeare's Macbeth told from the point of view of the trees in Birnam Wood. Now reviewer Jon Kaplan tells the sorry tale:
Its six characters are trees – wood spirits, actually – who’ve watched Birnam Wood be cut down to provide camouflage for the British army to approach the embattled Macbeth’s castle.

“The idea set me musing about the various prophecies in Shakespeare’s tragedy. What would it take for a forest to march up the hill? What has it seen? What energy does it draw upon?”

Given human form, the six tree spirits in the show recall, with nightmare-like intensity, the tale of Lady Macbeth and Macbeth.

...

“There are some astonishing parallels between the trees and the couple, beginning with the idea of dethroning: slowly, over time, one tree can take another’s more commanding spot in the forest. That’s also what happens, but more rapidly, in the tale of the Macbeths, with substantially more blood being shed.”

The development process included an exploration of the play’s nightmarish imagery: horses eating each other, for instance.

Not surprisingly, it’s the feminine energy associated with the natural world that helps make things right.

“In terms of visuals and poetic imagery, the production is set in a world turned upside down. We’re working in an imaginative place filled with flights of fancy,” smiles the director. “We’re not stuck up in our heads.”

"Not stuck up in our heads"? That's debateable. I guess it was inevitable that Shakespeare would be rewritten to publicly shame Macbeth for his excessive carbon footprint.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad somebody finally told the tree's story.

But let me tell you the dandielions and the ragweeds were some pissed too. That's for sure.

Anonymous said...

And how about that nurturing, feminine energy of Lady Macbeth!

kursk said...

Surprisingly, I too have re-written this story from the perspective of a piece of lint on acrust of bread that resides in Macbeth's pocket....