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We then moved into the next scene. It is the interruption of supper—my next big scene. Lady M really doesn’t have too many unimportant scenes, does she? This is the “Was the hope drunk…,” “I have given suck...,” “…screw your courage to the sticking place…” scene. Besides figuring out where to go and when to go there, I think this scene is pretty straightforward. I can’t get too hot too fast or I will have nowhere to go. She is in charge of making him do the deed in this small scene. I have to find a way to keep the heat on him at a constant increase. It can’t let up or he escapes. But too much pressure too fast and he pushes back. But then again, I do call his manhood into question numerous times. Maybe it is more of a go-for-the-jugular type of scene, but it goes too long to go right for the gold. He doesn’t immediately give in. Okay, it’s tougher than I previously indicated. How does she know that his masculinity is the thing to question?
We shall see. She is a bitch. Man, I love her. She is so different from me and so much what I dream of being sometimes.
September 27, 2004: Brian Scott, lighting designer extraordinaire, came into town today. And so, we did a run-through for Brian. Wow, it’s a mess. At least, I am a mess.
I am all over the place with choices. Although now is the time for big choices and trying things out, it always frustrates me when I don’t know exactly where I am going. Which is why tonight was frustrating at times. We ran all the way through II.ii which we have never actually looked at before. We discussed it last night, but we haven’t looked at it.
We also hadn’t resolved much last night—at one point it was like a vaudeville act. I know this scene, as I had performed it in class last semester, but it was a different Mac, a different “show,” a different me, and therefore a different Lady M. This scene is where she has to really take charge—she has displayed power, but hasn’t gotten her hands dirty (so to speak). All of that changes here. She is in charge, but only after this scene where she is… drunk? Frightened? Beginning to go nuts? She is talking to shadows, bragging about her part, jumping at nothing, and getting really excited about the thought of murder. All in 15 lines… if that. FAST. This scene (“That which has made them drunk…”) and the next (“I have done the deed”) and the next (the “discovery”) are fast.
No time to think. But even with no time, Lady can pull it together enough to see the daggers on Mac, know that is a problem, and get the daggers back in Duncan’s room before being discovered. I would say she is cold and heartless, but there is so much evidence to the contrary. Harold Bloom, I think, says she is pure will. Will: the power of making a reasoned choice or of controlling one’s own actions. Willful: doing as one pleases. Hm.
September 28, 2004: The “discovery.” I am really starting to see Lady M in a very physical way. She seems like the type of person who doesn’t speak or act without specific reason and purpose. Maybe that translates into her not moving without specific reason and purpose. I need to find exactly when and how she moves—I’ll start to score that out. One spot where it will be really necessary is in the banquet. That scene needs to move fast, really fast and it needs to be specific. She is dealing with a situation she has never dealt with before in front of people who should never see such a thing. Right now the fast and furious nature of the discovery scene isn’t there. I just have to get on and get going. How upset does she need to act? Is it “shock”? What is the reaction to Mac killing the guards other than the fainting? I think the faint is real… we are working with the idea that unless specifically stated the characters do not lie. She doesn’t fake the faint. So why? Shock? Fear? Exhaustion? I need to figure out exactly how the faint happens. I stand onstage for a long time, but don’t say anything. What is going on with her? Is it working to keep it together or to read everyone else’s reactions? How much do I need to see Mac’s eyes? How much do I need to avoid eye contact? And why do I need to avoid eye contact so much? They think the same way. Why would they need reassurance from each other? Would looking at each other just give everything away since they are so in tune? I think it is stronger to avoid eyes—maybe for the entire scene.
Maybe I can look at him once or twice—when he announces that he has killed the guards.
Does it need to be eye contact? Small scene, lots of questions.
September 29, 2004: Working II.iii (the “discovery”) again today—finishing it up.
Susan and I have decided on no eye contact at all. Everyone will look at Mac when he announces the murder of the guards, but his focus will be elsewhere. I think the girlies and most everyone else are getting cut from the scene. Fleance will carry me out when Macduff says, “Look to the lady.” Where I stand is a question. I will be fainting onto the side step, so I can’t get too far in or too far downstage. I think (if the platform legs are where I think they are) I will enter through door #5 and through the legs to the lower platform. The layout of the space is still a bit confusing to me. Trying to navigate two levels on the floor and two tall platforms—one at about 10 feet up—without any of them existing is difficult. So we began to sort out the discovery scene. We then moved on.
My next scene is what I am calling the “coronation” scene (III.i). We will be standing on the tallest above—not quite sure how we get there, but we do. This is my first scene as queen. What does that mean to her? How much has she moved on from the murder? Perhaps she has completely gotten over it. She is queen and nothing more can be done about it. If an accusation is made (if anyone is stupid enough to accuse the king and queen of anything), we could have the accuser killed. It’s treason. Has she just given over to the power? Resolved that the station alone will protect her? Has she even really considered trouble exists? Does she sense Banquo’s displeasure? Does she care?
What about Mac’s discussion of Malcolm and Donalbain? I think the full court will be in the room; does it upset her or even worry about him speaking so openly about that murder? Is she proud that he shows no fear in speaking about it? How upset is she about the dismissal from Mac? Right now I am haulin’ ass to get offstage from the upper level before the next scene starts. Man, it’s a long way down steep stairs in heels and (more than likely) a skirt. These short scenes leave so much to be asked. One thing I know for sure. At the top of this scene, she is at the top of the world. She is standing in front of 90, 000 screaming Tiger fans feeling like a rock star. Good thing I know what that feels like. How fast does that euphoria descend? She certainly isn’t happy at the top of the next scene.
September 30, 2004: My husband has been crowned king. I have been dismissed from his side. We are hosting the biggest dinner party ever experienced. He is talking about the murder of the previous king and the unverified guilt of that king’s sons. And on top of that his best friend is walking out of the room before being dismissed and speaking to him in a way unbecoming a king. I am freaking out because of my husband’s strange behavior and I am upset that he is so focused on our lack of safety and security. I think it is better to be dead than to be cautiously optimistic about our position. We have won and he is freaking out. That makes me freak out. Thus starts III.ii. Leon used the term virtuosic in reference to Lady M in this scene. She behaves one way with “the bitches.” When she is alone for four lines she lets out her fear and then pulls it back in to talk to her husband who worrying. Three Lady M’s in 10 lines. What I need is strong action, strong focus, and physical shifts. The physical shifts exist in the blocking right now— one direction, then a sharp turn to 90º turn showing a different side Lady M, and then a step down into scene with Mac and another different side of Lady M. Why does she feel it necessary to hide what she is thinking with Mac? Well, not hide it. She tells him what she is thinking, but she softens it for him. Is it because he is tightly wound? Susan is playing it pretty tightly wound. For him, it is immediately after the scene where he commissions Banquo’s murder. He is understandably uptight and I am a “nagging wife.” That works. He starts speaking strangely here. It is the first time he openly excludes me from his plans. He tells me not to worry my pretty little head about it. How deeply does this affect her? Has he ever before belittled her in this way? Does she even see it like that? That’s a dumb question… of course she sees it that way, whether he means it like that or not. In this scene, as of now, I am not facing Mac. He is on the upper level platform and I am in the sunken area of downstage. Opposite ends of the stage. I start exactly DS of where he is standing. This is a hard place, especially for this scene. How can I use it to my advantage? How can it be the best place she can be standing? We sat down and talked a bit at the end of the day. Some things we discussed mainly affect Mac, but that affects me as well. One thing we talked about was maybe Mac had never thought about becoming king. Now, this makes Mac fall faster in a shorter time, but it brings up so many questions for me. When does he swear to it, as Lady refers to in I.vii?
She calls it an enterprise he has made to her. Also, she turns immediately to thoughts of murder when she gets the letter. He also turns quickly to thoughts of murder. Are they just that connected? But wouldn’t it shock him to hear her reference murder for the first time—their first meeting after the battle? I think I can accept that maybe they haven’t really gotten serious about plotting how, when, where, etc., but I think it is pretty clear that they want to be powerful. I have to believe there has been talk, even if just wishing about being king and queen while lying in bed or joking about killing Duncan at breakfast or something. It can’t be something that they have never ever thought of. It seems like there is too much contradictory evidence.
October 1, 2004: We just brushed the banquet right at the end of rehearsal today.
Tomorrow is the big day. I need to go over the banquet lines. They aren’t sticking just yet. Although Mac has the furthest way to go in this scene, it is my job to juggle it.
Yikes!!! The only thing that I know for sure right now is that I have got to make serious physical choices and make them permanent and clear. She has to be so in control her body shows it. Nothing just happens in this woman’s life or in her body. Make it happen. I may start scoring the show physically to solidify this stuff somehow.
October 2, 2004: Long day and we worked the banquet for all of it. I had line problems.
This scene is really going to have to be precise. The line between humor and horror has to be razor sharp. It is funny. The king is talking to nothing and the queen is trying to cover it up as fast as possible. The dance we are going to create for the banquet is going to be alternating between really sharp violent movements and flowing formal movements.
How is this dance a product of the way Mac and I are behaving towards each other right now? There is a tension between them that is kind of showing up in the text. Maybe it is bleeding over from the previous scene. But it bumps up the stakes throughout. If we are fighting and then the Murderer comes in and then Mac starts freaking out, it escalates.
And it starts at a point of tension growing to frenzy. The dance will help with that tension. So, Mac is going to have a gun and the most bad ass thing I get to do in the entire show is because of this gun. When Mac is firing his gun into the crowd and yelling at what appears to be nothing. I get to walk right up to the dangerous end of his gun and look right at him and say, “Are you a man?” BAD ASS!!!! Questions: Is she lying about Mac behaving this way? Does he have seizures?
October 4, 2004: More work with the banquet. The shape is clearing up. I think this is the scene that is going to cause the most problems for the longest time. There are many things happening. It is particularly hard for me right now and I am not 100% sure why. I am having line problems and my focus is off. I thought a day off would do me some good, but it didn’t. Where does she exist in this scene? It is the last time she is seen until the sleepwalk. Is this the last straw? Does it all happen here? Who is this woman? Just as I feel that I get a grasp on her she gets bigger and deeper and leaves me holding onto the hem of her dress. Is there enough of me to fill her? This scene just makes me see once again how much I’m in over my head. I can’t chip away at this character—I need a sledgehammer, but I can’t find it. What unlocks her? What is it?
October 5, 2004: So we spent a good long time trying to figure out how to get out of the banquet. Nothing yet, but we are moving on. I am used to making more decisions as we go. I am unused to moving as slowly as we are and I am really afraid that I am going to be unprepared. I need rehearsal. I shouldn’t depend on it so much, but I do. I am scared of what I am going to look like opposite this powerhouse of an actress and my classmates. I am scared right now. I need to buckle down and stop asking questions and start answering them. Make a decision. The worst that will happen is that it will be wrong.
October 6, 2004: I didn’t get onstage at all today. I have made some big choices for the sleepwalking scene—Big physical choices as well. The sleepwalking scene is Lady M reliving moments from the last few months. She has been broken. It’s really beautiful that she relives tiny bits of her recent history while sleeping. It isn’t even that she has gone crazy—she can make demands during the day and people still obey her—but at night, alone, she can’t contain her guilt and fear. She has secrets that are too big for her to hold. I hope I can use some of the physicality I have found. It is much bigger and freer than anything I do throughout the entire rest of the show. I also think that I am going to suggest that I cross in the downstage area. It is public—she could get caught. It is the area that we established early on as Lady and Mac’s area. Hopefully we will get there tomorrow.