Jimmy Buffett, on the Margaritaville Radio app, streaming1, serious, whatever? He sings “Some people say, there’s a woman to blame….” I’ll hold that sentiment.
Question: “Is the Scottish Play an omen for our times, especially as Shakespeare’s Tragedy?”
Some years back, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar was staged2 with a carrot-topped, Cheeto-hued, red tie wearing individual as the eponymous role. The conservative right didn’t take kindly, and quickly quashed that performance, a much shortened season, and suddenly under-financed production. But as the hours, then days, dragging into weeks, and then years wear onward, the comparison to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar gets weaker.
One upped3 in a short, clear piece, and it highlights my question.
While, on its outset, there could be a comparison, I certainly think it’s less of a valid analogy. To me, and this means merely me, the questionable comparison is with the cursed Scottish Play, whose name will not be mentioned in a performance venue.
My personal problem with that allegory, the Scottish Play and the sitting president? The way I read the play, then the way I listened to it? The way I heard that play? Lady McB is a manipulative witch, and she’s really the character, in my mind, pulling on the Lord McB’s strings. Playing him like a puppet.
Sure, she gets help from the witches, Eye of Newt4, &c., but that’s not really it. One reading of the play, just an enhanced audio version, just the script, volunteer voice actors, dubious production values, but just that one version? In her lines, I could hear — and feel — the manipulation. Bending her man to her own will.
Part of this is based upon my interpretation5 of the play’s script, and part is based upon performance, and part is based upon — essentially two podcast academic treatments.
Emma Smith has an encapsulated version, available online, excellent work, and ChopBard, think he brought some of this up, too, although to be honest, I don’t recall which one, but the suggestion was that Lady McB had lost a child recently, so she was more ferocious that normal. Whatever “normal” means to potential medieval Scottish royalty and their families.
For me, there’s this almost unshakeable audio, “She made him do it” running in my mind, as that’s what it says in the script. In the play. I recall snippets of the performance on stage in Austin, but not much, and even then, despite a stellar performance, no, she didn’t quite reach that level of malevolence, not the way I wanted it to appear.
But that could just be me6.
If I wear to draw a conclusion? While the conservative right was upset with Julius Caesar as the president? That was sympathetic portrayal than a more valid comparison to lead in the Scottish Play, which, according to a singular synopsis , might be a better fit. But not, according to the way I read it.
For my European friends? Watching the US news is more like a reality TV show.
Anyone else worried about the season finale?
- Yes, that song. ↩
- NY Julius Caesar gets cancelled? ↩
- Maureen Dowd in Euro press (Irish Times). ↩
- Eye of Newt, toe of frog, and so forth. ↩
- Not my first time with Lady MacBeth. ↩
- See astrofish.net/bio for spurious details. ↩