Friday, 30 August 2013

Macbeth, Shakespeare's Globe

I had to take the gritlets to witness Macbeth, of course I did.

Not in the cause of a GCSE, no. Neither do I tell Shark, Tiger or Squirrel how highly probable it is that one day Macbeth will fetch up in an exam room at 9.30am, bloodied and defeated.

In fact I keep my children utterly safe from the horrible knowledge that many consider a proper end result to this play is the exam essay rather than the live performance.

With a route as cruel as the Eng Lit exam, I can only sympathise with Macbeth. If you have ever taught this play in a classroom, then you may have heard Macbeth's screams as he is dissected for 5G, where his torn gut is slowly, deliberately, parted from bone and his mind crayoned over in search of alliteration. If that were all. His urgent poetry is tortured in the mouth of Kevin the Indifferent, and his reign stretches precisely to the Thursday end-of-term, relieved only by the expectation of a mock and a DVD. On and on and on, relentless it goes, until he wishes he were dead instead of Banquo.

These days I have the wonderful freedom to approach Macbeth in an entirely different spirit. I sagely warn my teenagers to treasure these vital hours in a life where we have to come to terms with ourselves. Regard the motive of ambition; follow the consequences of power; watch out for strange beings who put newts in cauldrons. But know it, enjoy it all, the thrills, the spills, and the struggles.

Dangerous standing: centre stage front, eye-level to the blood, sweat, and tears.

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