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«A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College In partial fulfillment of the ...»

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We have a woman playing Macbeth, a young, small woman (me) playing such a wonderfully strong female (even if she is rotten), women playing thanes, and the awesome witches—enough strong women for any girl to latch onto one of them. I felt strong. It was a great boost before the evening show. It was a wonderfully supportive audience packed with friends and family and strangers, but strangers have no chance to sit back when you have that many amazing audience members around. The energy was huge. The entire show felt perfect—it wasn’t, of course, but the audience was right there for us the whole way. Lady M was a giant tonight, especially in the banquet—the best it has ever been. By the end of the scene, I was crying. It launched me into the sleepwalking scene like nothing else could have. Great show. No show tomorrow because of the football game. Damn.

October 31, 2004: Susan and I need to go over the solo section in the banquet dance again—we have had a few problems here and there, but tonight my hand slipped and so I had to throw myself onto the ground, which flubbed up the energy for all of the banquet.

It was weird Sunday energy anyway, but man, it stunk.

November 2, 2004: Two days off and boy did it show. It was a rocky, rocky show. I forgot lines. I tripped over my words. I played to remember quite nicely, but really nothing else. I need to look over lines again before tomorrow.

November 3, 2004: I think tonight was our best night to date. Even better than last Friday. The sleepwalking scene is starting to feel particularly good these days. I haven’t fallen down in weeks. There was a good energy all around. We are starting, as a cast, to get into the groove of it and playing within what we have. We are trusting ourselves more as well. It’s a nice feeling.

November 4, 2004: The kids were restless this fine morning show. We in return got restless for the PM show. My focus was off and on. I felt good walking out, but somewhere in the letter I checked out. I got back in for the next speech and I felt really good about the “unsex me” speech. I heard someone whispering as I got into it and that really fueled the top of the speech—“fill me…top-full /Of direst cruelty” and all. The first scene with Mac went well. We continue to miss our mark for the stop with that spin, but we got there with the step out. I felt that I took Leon’s note and launched us into the “hip-hop” Duncan entrance cue. That was an easy adjustment of vocal energy and rising inflection. The scene with Duncan went alright. I tripped on some words. I let Eric’s new choice of grabbing Angus throw me. I was not listening for just long enough to knock myself out of the scene. I was thinking about how to get my dress unstuck from my shoe strap. UGH! Then I got mad at myself leading into the Last Supper hold. I am still figuring out exactly how that move out of the hold works. The speed of the walk isn’t set yet because I have yet to hit that mark at exactly the right time. Maybe it needs to be more of a here by this phrase, there by the next, etc. That makes sense. Why didn’t I think of that before? So then the scene with Mac went really well. I was listening. I smacked the crap out of Susan, but it sure fueled that scene. Right now this scene feels really strong. Isn’t it strange how scenes that were problems become the most exciting?

I feel confident in this scene every night. That Shakespeare, boy, he knows how to write ‘em. This is the main scene in which I feel that I control those tempo shifts that Leon asked us to be aware of tonight. Then the drunk scene, I missed the pole and therefore had nothing to react to. It was a focus issue. The post-murder scene with Mac went fine.

I think it needs to be faster—more driven. Lately the tension hasn’t seemed quite taut enough. I’m not exactly sure how to monitor that particular aspect. The discovery scene was fine. I am still dealing with the faint/freeze moment. I have a thought about starting a crumple as opposed to the fall. I’ll look at it tomorrow night. I noticed my enunciation in the coronation scene. The phrase “If he had been forgotten, /It had been as a gap in our great feast” is particularly tricky to say for some reason. Do a better warm up with t’s and d’s. I’m feeling better and better about the balcony conversation. It still always feels like it needs more detail and I am scared to do too much face acting. I am also concerned about the idea that I am hiding my feelings from Mac… so the reactions can’t be on the surface. There is something in pressing up against that inability to react, but I don’t know how it plays. I should ask Leon to look at that scene. The banquet… oh no, I really checked out and forgot the dance. Preston, of course, loved that mistake. I got it back together and the banquet scene actually took a step forward. It has also turned into one of my favorite scenes despite the early trouble. I keep finding moments were the pull on Lady M is even greater.

November 5, 2004: Susan got punched in the face during the dumb show tonight. That really set things off. In my first scene with her all that I could do was watch her eye swell and the blood on her eyeball. I was trying to get some signal from her that she was okay, but she was being a complete professional and going on as usual. When we got to the slap, I chickened out because I was afraid to hurt her and it was weak. She was perfect about it though and reacted to what I gave her. She is a trooper. After the first few scenes, I got focused again. I felt like I needed to amp it up so Susan didn’t have to worry about the focus so much. It ended up being a good show for me. I hooked in with my emotions early (fear in particular) and they stuck with me. The tension sure was bumped up in the “was the hope drunk” scene, because of the punch and my reaction to it. Overall, once we all settled into the crazy energy of the show it went really well.

There was also annoying static on the sound system all night.

November 6, 2004: Tomorrow is the last show. I am still trying to manage some things, but the run has been great. I do wish that I had a few more weeks to really get things solid and good, but such is the theatre. Tonight was smooth—almost to a fault. The end of the banquet is getting harder to keep the emotion from getting too much—if I burst, Lady’s credibility is shot and we are not surprised by her breakdown. It is a nice obstacle fight. The sleepwalking scene feels beautiful—I have found a way to give so much to it.

It is exhausting, in a great way. I wish it weren’t about to be over.

November 7, 2004: We were missing some cast members today—and I didn’t account for when and where it would affect me. The only place I was affected was in the dumb show, but I realized that I had relied so much on Jeremiah and Allison in the dumb show that I had no idea when to go without them. Performance isn’t the time to figure that out.

So the dumb show was funky to say the least. No one died (thank goodness), but it fell apart. It was a really emotional show for me. It made the whole show really raw in a way that I wish I knew how to find without it being the last performance. Everything became extra important because it was the last time. And the audience just wasn’t the one I wanted to see that. They weren’t very supportive and that’s not their fault—I shouldn’t expect it. The entire first scene was really crisp and clear. The scene with Duncan was magical, because Eric let it go. My final scene with Susan was violent and tense in just the right way. The drunk speech was fine and these scene with Mac went great. The discovery was fast and furious. Coronation was spectacular. Mac broke my heart three times in two scenes and we fought like lovers at the banquet. And then I saw my husband go to a point where he could never come back. The sleepwalking scene broke me. I was sobbing by the end and thankful that I was up in the catwalk where I couldn’t be seen. I think I cried gently through the curtain call and my exit. I was brilliant, or at least as brilliant as it could be in that place and time. I said goodbye to Lady Macbeth, a woman I had grown to love and admire and hopefully embody to some credible degree. I walk away from the experience confident that I worked as hard as I could and that I brought something to her that no one else could have—myself. I think we worked very well together.

Chapter 4 Physical Score

–  –  –

Second Witch:

When the hurlyburly's done, When the battle's lost and won.

Third Witch:

That will be ere the set of sun.

First Witch:

Where the place?

Second Witch:

Upon the heath.

Third Witch:

There to meet with Macbeth.

First Witch:

I come, Graymalkin!

Second Witch:

Paddock calls.

Third Witch:


–  –  –

Lady Macbeth: Whiles I stood rapt in the wonder of it, I have stepped into the exact spot where Mac was standing and the letter covers my face from the came missives from the King, who all-hailed me Thane of view of the audience. I am at DSR—midway between the two corners of the DS shape. I stand Cawdor, by which title, before, these Weird Sisters saluted here, face covered until the end of the letter. This is about getting every ounce of the information me, and referred me to the coming on of time with ‘Hail, from the letter. Exactly as written.

king that shalt be!’ This have I thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou might’st not lose the dues of rejoicing by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy heart, and farewell.” Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be I pull the letter away from my face exposing it to the audience. I begin folding the letter.

What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature. Cementing/slamming the facts into permanence. “Glamis thou art,” fold/slam, “and Cawdor,” It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness fold/slam. I put the letter into the top left hand side of my robe, making it signed, sealed, and To catch the nearest way. Thou wouldst be great, delivered as I speak, “and shalt be what thou art promised.” Freeze. This isn’t done. “Yet do I Art not without ambition, but without fear thy nature.” Sharp turn to the left and cross to DSC point. I have the next bit of text to make The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst highly, it to center. I stop at center with my body still facing left, I turn my head and pan over the That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false, audience to say, “What thou wouldst highly,/That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play And yet wouldst wrongly win. Thou’dst have, great Glamis, false,/And yet wouldst wrongly win.” That which cries “Thus thou must do” if thou have it;

–  –  –

Lady Macbeth: Thou’rt mad to say it!

Is not thy master with him? who, were’t so, Would have informed for preparation.


So please you, it is true. Our Thane is coming.

One of my fellows had the speed of him, Who, almost dead for breath, had scarcely more Than would make up his message.

Lady Macbeth: Give him tending;

He brings great news.

The raven himself is hoarse When the door shuts… cross to the DSL intersection point while speaking. As saying “under my That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan battlements” turn DS facing out.

Under my battlements. Come, you spirits Look out left, look out right. Reach arms out and down, grab air to sides as if it is craggy rock That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, with places for my fingers to fit. Slowly start to sink down. Use the entire length of the text And fill me from the crown to the toe topful until… Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood;

Stop up th’ access and passage to remorse, That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose nor keep peace between Th’ effect and it. Come to my woman’s breasts And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers, Wherever in your sightless substances You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night, And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark I reach my final position-- crouching, body straight up and down, legs spread, butt inches To cry “Hold, hold.” from the ground, arms still outstretched—stopping at second “Hold.” Great Glamis, worthy Cawdor, Only to leap up immediately, turn US, and say “Great Glamis..” Stand until… Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter, Thy letters have transported me beyond This ignorant present, and I feel now The future in the instant.

–  –  –

Pale Hecate's offerings, and wither'd murder, Cross toward offstage stairs.

Alarum'd by his sentinel, the wolf, Whose howl's his watch, thus with his stealthy pace.

With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design Moves like a ghost. Thou sure and firm-set earth, Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear Thy very stones prate of my whereabout, And take the present horror from the time, Start final descent into area between legs of platform. The bell rings and I react by looking up in Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives: the direction of the sound.

Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.

I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.

Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell That summons thee to heaven or to hell.

Act II scene ii

LM: Land between platform legs. Take a pull from the vodka bottle.

That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold; Step through legs. Lean on SL leg.

What hath quenched them hath given me fire. Hark! Peace. Step toward SR leg. Open arms and hit left leg with bottle. React in different direction “Hark.” It was the owl that shrieked, the fatal bellman Which gives the stern’st good-night. He is about it. Lean back onto SR leg.

The doors are open, and the surfeited grooms Turn to face door where Duncan (#4) is sleeping.

Do mock their charge with snores. I have drugged their “I have drugged…” turn back DS between platform legs.

possets, That death and nature do contend about them Whether they live or die.

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