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October 7, 2004: Right at the end I got to show Leon what I worked on for the sleepwalking scene. He told me I got the lines right. Yikes! He would like very much for the scene to take place in the upper catwalk. That seems pretty cool. Shawn and I discussed a possible moment where I cross their path or start heading right toward them—adding a moment of everyone almost getting caught. Time and space are going to have to get worked out when we get onto the set. This weird limbo land is confusing!!!
Leon told that “Mr. Suzuki” talked about Lady’s mind in this scene like a shattered mirror and she keeps grabbing pieces, but cannot get it back together. He asked me to work most specifically in jumps—the differences between one moment and the next.
Huge differences. At least we are on the same page here. I can grab onto Lady a bit more in this scene—because I am better at falling apart than keeping things together. I know that this will be the scene that I will continue trying to perfect throughout the entire process because it is so beautiful to me. I have to work even harder on her for the rest of the show to earn this scene. I have to hit her perfectly every night to be able to start in the right place for this scene.
October 8, 2004: In Act V scene v, Macbeth gets the announcement of my death. I am onstage and get to blow out my taper when the noise happens (Mac asks what the noise was) to signify my suicide. When does it change from (for lack of a better term) crazy mode to dead? Do I need a moment? Scenes are going on at the same time and I am in the catwalk, would it matter if I had a moment? After I am dead, I join the Dead (Duncan, Lady Macduff and Macduff’s son, Banquo, and myself) and we cross through Mac’s path. I think it could be a nice moment. We made it to the end of the show and sketched it out. We, the dead, come back onto the stage and watch Mac’s death and Malcolm’s crowning. We watch with the rest of the cast as the excitement happens.
October 9, 2004: Lots of work on the dances. We are making them cleaner. The opening dance is really going to get me going. It is fun. The banquet dance is also going to prepare me up for that scene. It ends with Mac throwing me onto the ground. It just escalates from tension in the room to tension between us and ends up with me on the ground. It gives a solid concrete reason for the tension that carries through the first part of the scene between Mac and me.
We started back at the top of the show again. The witch is getting cut from that moment—I will come in with the letter. We are also cutting the tearing of the letter—I am glad, it was too imprecise for me. I need to work more on how I speak to the absent Mac. The language gets harsh and I become insistent, but when Mac comes in I don’t say any of those things. Why? Is it because I am overwhelmed being in the room with him again? We have been apart for some time. Is it because I have gotten it all out of my system with my rant to a Mac who isn’t there? I have already resolved the situation in my mind. I know how to get him to the same place I am. Maybe it is both. He walks in and sweeps me off my feet, literally, and doesn’t ask those questions. We found the dynamic of our first scene together. We tried a variety of first moments—really physical, really fast, really slow, really sexy, but we were happiest with the cleanest one. I think our story is clearly told through the little bit of physicality we have. Darron (L. West— sound designer) just suggested a way that we hold each other after our first hug—it is simple, it is like holding each other during sex. There is nothing overtly sexual and yet it is very sexual. I like it. It is classy and sexual. I think our Macbeth’s are both of those things. It is very still after our first big rush of movement. I clearly become the one in control and the story gets told. And I don’t leave the stage. I stay there with Mac until I enter into the scene with ol’ King Duncan. We’ve started thinking of ways to overlap scenes—to keep the flow. Leon has asked everyone, me specifically, to speed it up. To pick up the internal pace.
Rachel suggested some kind of constant gesture or attention to my hands. Maybe a nervous twitch or something.
October 11, 2004: The scene with Duncan is going well. Rachel reminded me to butter him up even more. I am getting so caught up in what I am figuring out that I am forgetting to play an action. I feel really amateur everytime I have to be reminded that I should be doing something—so I think I will start doing things. What a novel idea. We got into the “Last Supper.” That hold is still not quite easy for me. I gave myself a tough physicality, but I think with more practice, I will master it. I wish that we were moving faster so that I could work it more often, but such is this process. We got to the supper interruption. We tried a few things, but I think we are still missing something physically.
I am finding my actions and intentions. The thoughts are getting clearer and cleaner and I feel confident with my strength in opposition to Mac, but physically it is either dead or too much. We haven’t found the right shape for it. I think it will end up being something so simple.
Got to my drunk scene. I fought through my immense frustration with myself to come to a really good place. Darron helped a great deal with this scene. I think she is drunk, but it goes away quickly when Mac comes in. I found a comic beat with the vodka bottle and the metal platform leg. Who am I talking to? Not the audience.
Myself? The heavens? The spirits I have called on? Maybe that. I have called to these spirits for strength and now I am bragging to them that I have done something that required strength. The tension needs to be maintained in the following scene with Mac.
We are having line problems that break the tension, but that will be fixed. The daggers are scary, but we have found a way to deal with them—costumes will change this. I have found some great shifts between relief and tension, as well as waiting for a cue and making demands. It really is all in the text with Shakespeare—you just have to trust it and yourself. Everyone is on edge. I know I am. It feels as though we are behind, but I think we will come out on the other side with a good show. My work is starting to be mine.
October 12, 2004: Act II scene iii.—The “discovery.” We are working with Darron and therefore with the sound. We as a group are still working to push against the sound, to use it rather than letting it drown us out. The sound is awesome, it is kind of like a nuclear melt-down siren. I'm still (my mouth anyway) is rebelling against using the language. I've become paranoid about being too slow-- even though I now have room to play. Instead of using the language to make things happen I am rushing over it. I need to stop rushing. I have made some more decisions. I think there is something to the idea of Lady fainting because she is so overwhelmed. She is faking shock—obviously. She is checking in with everyone making sure they aren’t suspicious. Donnie (Banquo) has been giving me the line, “Too cruel anywhere,” with some venom which has really been helping me find my paranoia—what does he suspect? What does he know? Can he sense something? Is he suspicious because he knows about the witches? This is a tad overwhelming because I do only have a moment to try to figure it all out before Mac reenters. Then we are swept up into the next moment with Malcolm and Donalbain coming in—the announcement of a father’s death to his sons. This moment gives me more time to check out the situation—are Donalbain and Malcolm also suspicious? They have been showing shock and confusion more than anything else, but there is the chance that they have heard something. Watch them. And then when Mac makes the announcement that he has killed the guards—look to him. What was he thinking? Was he thinking? What does this mean? The plan wasn’t to murder the guards? Does this throw suspicion onto us? Thoughts and fears start rushing in before they can be cast off.
I think she gets overwhelmed and she is still trying to hold it together. As much as I hate to use this image—it is like the moment in The Matrix when Neo has heard what everything is and he freaks out, gets “unplugged,” and one of the other guys says, “He’s gonna pop.” Lady M is gonna pop. But unlike in The Matrix, she has to hold it together so that they won’t get caught. I try to shake off that feeling and finally I pop in the only way I can, “Help me hence, ho.” Get me out of here before I pop in front of all of these people. We are trying to set apart the moment of Malcolm and Donalbain’s talk—so it has become a stop-time thing. Everyone around them freezes/pauses and they have their aside. To help show this I get to do a mid-air faint freeze. I will pause in mid-air on my way down. It will take a bit of work to time it so that I am in a clear fainting position that I can hold in mid-air. It is a nice little physical challenge I get to work on. After I have fainted poor little Derrick (Fleance) has to pick me up. I think maybe we are the exact same weight. Poor guy.
Now that we are on the set we are getting to work things out, like the entrance to III.i. And may I just say that this particular entrance is rock star!!! It is just so perfect for this scene and it really gets me pumped up for the coronation bit. It is everything that Lady Mac and I could ask for as the queen. We have 32 seconds to get from DS of the center doors (#3) to all the way up to C on the upper most catwalk. It is a bad-ass entrance. When we get to the top we pause. Pause, not freeze, like a CD... there is still something happening (I have to thank Donnie Mather for this reference—it really works for me in a number of places in this show). This scene is big for me—it’s another of those scenes where I don’t say much but a lot happens. I think there is a similar thing happening as in the last scene. I am letting Mac do the talking while I inspect the crowd.
It starts as an extremely triumphant scene for me and for us as a couple. Banquo is acting strangely, but Mac seems unaffected and I am ready to start life anew from this point, ignoring everything that happened in the past. Then Mac brings up Duncan’s sons and the murder. I still say nothing, but this is a bit disturbing—there is no need to flaunt what we have done. I check in with the thanes who look happy to be here more than anything else. Mac finishes with Banquo. I turn to him expecting we will have a moment together before playing perfect hosts, but he dismisses me along with the rest of the crowd. I think this has to be the first time that he does this to me. We were trying to get me off as fast as possible for the murderer’s scene, but Rachel suggested that I make my exit even longer—so long that I make it downstairs just at the moment my scene starts with Mac. I really like this movement. It will help me get to the place I need to be emotionally. I found a lot in working this cross—the disbelief of being rejected by Mac for the first time, the sadness of being unnecessary to him for the first time, the anger at not being allowed at his side, and finally a need to act. By the time I get to the ground I have decided to have a word with him about his behavior. Inner monologue isn’t something I usually work with, but this really lends itself to an inner monologue—I have lots of time on stage and I need to be at a new place emotionally. I will work that monologue out the next time we work this—see how I feel about it.
Next is III.ii.--SR tower entrance—the big question is—what have I worked myself up to??? I know it is something. Something important that cannot wait. I say it would be better to de dead than to be afraid of what could happen to us next. It could be an attempt to once and for all get him to stop thinking about Duncan—Mac, unfortunately, isn’t on the same wavelength. Of course, I don’t know that he has just planned for his best friend to be killed. He begins to scare me in this scene. He is ranting and high strung. I feel that I have to hide my emotions from Mac, because he doesn’t appear to me to be able to handle emotion now—especially the intense emotions that I am feeling. I am facing audience and not him. I am showing the audience how to react-how should they react? Anger? Shock? Fear? There is a fine line in this scene of letting things out and keeping them in. I can let a bit more out than she usually does, because I am facing away from him. I am thinking suspend and release or explode and bury for her emotional life in this scene. I am not sure how this translates, except that things do start to peek out and then she catches them and puts them back where they came from. This scene holds another first of their relationship as I wrote about the last time we worked this scene—it is the first time he has not wanted or needed her to be a part of his plan.
His lack of need for her is surely another little attack on her pride and on her emotions.
The scene ends with Jeremiah (Angus) chasing me off-stage with a flashlight. It’s intense.
October 13, 2004: The banquet is still the sticking point. It is coming together but there are a lot of wheels turning at once and they haven’t lined up precisely. We spent a lot of time on the group aspect of this scene today which didn’t include me much. I got some time to think about things—this is a tight scene and a lot happens. We start tech in two days and there are still some big choices which I need to make, not specifically in this scene, but in general. The big biggies are getting set—I have a clear idea of her physicality, the relationship with Mac is clear and we have made some good choices about how this relationship manifests itself, overall wants are in place, even most scenes have a good strong action. I need to feel confident in my choices more than anything else. I know that if I were ruining Leon’s show, he, or someone else, would point that out to me. My confidence is really shaken right now and I know that it is affecting my work.