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Hypothetical Production of Macbeth


Shakespeare’s ageless masterpiece, Macbeth, the perennial dilemma posed is whether fate governs our lives or whether we have free choice to determine our outcomes. This fast-paced, actor-driven performance with eight actors portraying over 35 parts depicts the stratospheric rise and catastrophic fall of one of Shakespeare’s most spectacular couples — The MacbethsAs a director, I would set the play’s performance in the new post-independent Africa. The power struggles, betrayals and tragic coups witnessed in the newly post-independent Africa resonate with the themes in the play. The play’s performance should encompass key aspects such as staging, characters, costumes and symbolism. In the era of covid-19, the play can be played in a private theater for safety measures.


The play’s performance should be presented in a distinctive way to highlight the play’s primary themes. First, the audience should be seated around a six-meter-wide chalk circle created on the floor to represent magical powers. The audience should sit close to actors to hear them as they whisper. Actors then watch the performance evolve around the circle, which is well encompassed by decorations and inverted crates. In the precedence of staging every scene, the actors sit around the circle’s circumference and should appear to be deeply in thought.


The play’s performance should seek neutrality as far as modernism and historicity are concerned. Therefore, costumes used in the course of the performance should be consistent with this neutrality approach. First, Duncan should be appropriately dressed in royal gear and be well-armed with swords and daggers. Malcom, on the other hand, should wear a white cardigan with a well-knit cable pattern. Lady Macbeth should be dressed in a black jersey, accompanied by a black headscarf. In general, all performers should be adorned in white and black , with some donning golden or silver-plated jewelry. The outfits chosen will have a great impact on bringing out the appropriate meaning. Duncan, for example, wearing his royal regalia and wielding swords and daggers, denotes authority.


A powerful sense of emotional and psychological complexities should be portrayed in the performance of this play to make it similar to its written version. Because the play is primarily a tragedy, the general tone and mood should be sad and gloomy. However, occasional humor and guilt can be incorporated into the performance. Unlike the written version, the performance should make the audience better comprehend the unfolding events in the play. It should create a vivid picture in the viewer’s mind through the effective application of symbolism.

Lighting, sound, and music are used in Shakespeare’s Macbeth to reflect significant ideas, build suspense, and preserve the sense of setting. These effects are utilized to create a visually compelling opening scene, and they build a theme of darkness versus light – bad versus good. Effects also aid in conveying Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s growing psychological uneasiness and emphasizing the play’s dramatic, victorious conclusion. When Shakespeare presents us to the three witches, lighting and sound are crucial in the first scene. “Thunder and lightning” are mentioned in the stage directions, and one witch mentions meeting in “thunder, lightning, or rain.” As this phrase shows, storms and terrible weather become a pattern throughout the drama. As a result, the stage lights may flash sporadically throughout the opening scene, and the audience may hear occasional distant thunder as the witches converse.

The lighting and music in this scene anticipate the impending turmoil, capturing the audience’s attention by creating a dramatic atmosphere. Shakespeare capitalizes on the audience’s fascination with witchcraft by allowing them to have a sneak peek of it; later in the play, the witches sing and dance. He creates a rhyming incantation here using an iambic meter: “Fair is foul and foul is fair:/Hover through the fog and filthy air.” The rhyming verse’s audio effect adds to this image’s visual and auditory intrigue. A piece of strange and discordant music should be played in the background to add to the eerie mood.

Furthermore, with the contrast of “good” and “bad,” Shakespeare utilizes the witches’ chant to establish the idea of misleading impressions. “Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders crash… from that spring, where peace seemed to come, /Discomfort rises,” the Captain says in scene two. Shakespeare connects storms with battles, implying a threat to King Duncan’s life and the stability of Scotland. Additional “Thunder” heralds the witches’ approach in the next scene, and they make more references to generating storms. The pathetic fallacy establishes a link between dark powers and impending evil. Also, as the Captain implies by contrasting the words ‘comfort’ and ‘discomfort,’ danger might come from unexpected places. This alludes to Macbeth’s deception.

The discussion between Macbeth and Banquo should be calm after a dramatic, noise-filled start to highlight Macbeth’s numerous asides. “The greatest is behind,” Macbeth says as he accepts his new title as Thane of Cawdor. The use of the superlative demonstrates that the witches’ ambiguity has fueled Macbeth’s desire — he now wishes to be king. The audience will see the growing gap between Macbeth’s outward demeanor and inner thoughts. Another significant element is the contrast between light and darkness, as shown above. Although Macbeth might be standing in dazzling light in front of the king (as a symbol of his newly acquired “golden ideas”), he should reject light, which is a metaphor for virtue. In scene five, Lady Macbeth makes a similar call for darkness, saying, “Come, thick night, / And pall thee in the most dun fog of Hell.” The same discordant music that plays in the background of the witches’ scene might be playing at this moment because the exhortation “come” is repeated several times, making this soliloquy sound like an incantation.

Dramatic irony may also be emphasized through music and lighting. As King Duncan gets closer to Macbeth’s castle in scene six, the stage directions should include “hautboys and torches,” as well as references to the presence of the martlet, “this visitor of summer,” and the atmosphere; of “heaven’s breath.” Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s appeals for gloom, as well as Lady Macbeth’s declaration that “the raven himself is hoarse/That croaks the deadly entry of Duncan,” should contrast with pleasant music, soft bird twittering, and light torches. The juxtaposition of the two acts’ differing consequences highlights the irony of Duncan’s false confidence in Macbeth. Duncan’s claims also demonstrate his connection to “heaven.” This heightens the tension in the following scene, in which Macbeth contemplates whether or not to murder Duncan. Duncan’s “virtues/ Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued” is one of the reasons for the hesitancy. An offstage celebration would accentuate Macbeth’s deceit while he stands in the shadows.


In conclusion, The play’s performance should make good use of many components of performance, such as staging, lighting, costumes, and characters, to bring out the play’s numerous themes while maintaining its uniqueness. Some components of the play, such as emotional and psychological intricacies, should be observed in performance as they are described in the play’s written version. This will help to maintain the tragedy’s main mood and tone in the play. The successful application of these characteristics will allow the audience to quickly grasp numerous portions of the play, particularly those that utilise symbolism, throughout the performance of this play. Generally, the play’s performance should give the viewer a vivid picture, creating an unforgettable memory.


Shakespeare, W., & Gill, R. (2009). Macbeth: Oxford School Shakespeare (Oxford School Shakespeare Series) (1st ed.). Oxford University Press.


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