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MFFE text analysis

Playreading Report: Macbeth, Edinburgh, 8th May

We held our last play-reading of this season (September – April)  last Sunday,  reading  Macbeth, and out of that comes this play-reading report. Preparing the text of Macbeth for our play-reading was a real struggle. The main difficulty was the extensive use of Shared lines, which has a knock-on effect on the structure of the other lines in a speech. There were considerable differences between the structure of these lines in our OUP-derived First …Read More

Playreading Report: Macbeth Act 2 Scene 2

I’ve been editing Macbeth this last little while, to get it ready for our Play of the Month. We only do minimal editing: modernising spelling, punctuation, and implementing ‘shared lines’. But in Macbeth, the verse lines are often irregular; the shared lines complex; and it makes it difficult to decide how to present it. I’m sure we haven’t got it exactly right, but I hope what we’ve done is usable – and …Read More

Macbeth: Play of the Month and How to put on a successful production

It’s time for a new ‘Play of the Month’, and this month it’s Macbeth. The sidebar to the right of this post will show you the five intense scenes we’ve chosen for small groups (2 – 7) to play, and below tha,t the different cast lists we’ve provided for 8 through 10 players (the cast lists for 8 and 10 are performable), and the original King’s Men cast list which needs 28. …Read More

One small step for a web-site – one giant leap for Shakespeare-online!

Last week, along with a few million others around the globe, we thought we’d mark Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary. Amongst the other things we did (see Keep Celebrating Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary), we thought it might be fun to produce a way of casting a Shakespeare play so that it could be performed on stage, We managed to produce a casting of  our online, interactive,  As You Like It for 11 players …Read More

Let’s Play: ‘I have supped full of horrors’ (Macbeth, A5S5, 2 players)

The end is four short scenes away. Macbeth’s defences crumble, his queen dies, and he almost welcomes his own death. It is bleak and – dramatically speaking – magnificent. This scene requires two players: Player 1: Macbeth (Highlit Text) Player 2: Seyton, Messenger1 (Standard Script) Play the scene from the start to the end. Let’s Play! Alan Brown, Editor Players-Shakespeare.com If you ‘like’ our Facebook page, you’ll get updates on …Read More

Let’s Play: ‘By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes’ (Macbeth, A4S1, 7 players)

The cauldron bubbles and thunder ‘claps’. The witches’ spell is cooking and Macbeth approaches. These ‘secret, black and midnight hags’ call him ‘wicked’, which tells us something!  The spirits know what he wants to hear. Each of three Apparitions reassures him but then, in answer to a direct question, comes the last ‘horrible sight’. . This scene requires 7 players, which is more than we usually include for scenes to play, …Read More

Let’s Play: The Ghost of Banquo (Macbeth, A3S4, 4 players)

Macbeth has had his close friend Banquo murdered for fear that he would succeed him as king. Fleance, Banquo’s son managed to escape. One of the killers comes to report the news to Macbeth, who is hosting a great feast to celebrate his coronation. . The Ghost of Banquo takes ‘his’ place at the table. There is no seat left for Macbeth. This is, of course, one of the most …Read More

Let’s Play: Macbeth shall sleep no more (Macbeth, A2S2, 2 players)

Owls are screaming in the night. Macbeth has murdered his king and the ghastly consequences are immediate. He is in a cold sweat, cannot pray, and believes that he will never find rest. . Lady Macbeth is similarly condemned but doesn’t know it yet! For the moment she is confident and decisive, rebuking Macbeth for being ‘infirm’. . There is a frightful knocking at the castle entrance. Call it Hell …Read More

Let’s Play: Lady Macbeth’s dreadful resolve (Macbeth, A1S5, 2 players)

It’s been some day! The battle is won. Valiant Macbeth is the hero. The witches’ charm is ‘wound up’ and they tell him that he will be king. This is marvellous news and he puts it all down in a letter to his wife. . Lady Macbeth reads the letter aloud and wonders whether her husband is man enough to kill to become king. No matter, for she will convince …Read More

Let’s Play: Macbeth (7 – 10 players)

Flickering tapers anyone? A play-reading of Macbeth should end with candles guttering out and its closing lines spoken ‘off’, where light can still be seen. The ‘butcher’ and ‘his fiend-like queen’ may be dead but what about those witches? It is a close, terrifying play. A small chalk circle was all that contained the fatal action of the acclaimed RSC production of 1976 (dir. Trevor Nunn) with Ian McKellen and …Read More