I am sitting on the front porch of a log cabin reading my mail that has arrived over the last few days, trying to keep this chair from rocking. I haven’t had time yet to have a look into all the letters that are now piling up in front of me. Some colleagues and crew are nearby, gathering technical equipment to take to today’s location. I have the day off and just give them a nod before turning my attention back to the envelopes and faxes.
Another fax from Simon catches my attention first. I won’t be part of the Chicago Seafarer cast, so he is very busy proposing all sorts of other things to keep me busy as well. Maybe because of that Cinderella‘s horse’s ass discussion that was recently taken up by the press he was looking around for theatrical work and wanted me to know that we could be doing stage business with Mr. Shakespeare for a change. “When shall we three meet again? / In thunder, lightning, or in rain?” were his first words for me. That quote from good old Bill gets a smile out of me and asks: OK, do you want to read on and get caught up in Macbeth or should you skip it immediately? I read on…
I remember long ago working in Glasgow with Giles at the Citizens Theatre. I played one of the murderers, and everyone seems to remember the production back then with a Macbeth costumed in Nazi regalia and many accusations of nudity and general licentious behaviour.
Me as Thane of Cawdor?
Come, you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here / And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full / Of direst cruelty. Actually Maria Callas would be a fine Queen for me, but unfortunately she’s no longer with us. And of course that would be an opera version of a play about superstition, mythology and fiction that is almost exactly 400 years old now. I listened to a CD version of Macbeth with her that I took with me on my short trip for the Pirates thing. What a coincidence!
Me doing another murder? I don’t remember the number of, what did the Fair Game host ask me in that NPR interview, how many times I died in my movies? So what’s all the fuss over killing again?
Another line came up: Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand? with the remarkable reply: A little water clears us of this deed. What a cold-blooded partner.
I like the witches, especially because there are three of them in the play. But that has nothing to do with my current project, believe me. None of woman born / Shall harm Macbeth. Macbeth shall never vanquished be until / Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill / Shall come against him. I’ve seen the NY production of the play with Patrick Stewart, another old buddy from Excalibur, a film that must have been shot at least as long ago as William wrote his famous Scottish play.
Does it occur to you during the banquet scene in Macbeth, that Shakespeare’s recurring theme of ghosts returning exactly in time for dinner might be a bit overdone? Or does that just remind you of To be or not to be stuff?
I have lived long enough. My way of life / Is fall’n into the sere, the yellow leaf. To be able to judge when a life is better off ended is really good stuff to perform on stage. Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, / And then is heard no more. But to have a sleepwalking queen turn mad. And to be killed by someone called Macduff, Thane of Fife. Bring it on, Macduff, I’m ready? From his mother’s womb / Untimely ripped.
Too many hints of Caesarean memories and getting killed by having my head chopped off. Simon, you must be off your rocker! No thanks. My reply to him on the fax was something like: If you have Quentin Tarantino doing a remake of Orson Welles’, Roman Polanski’s and Akira Kurosawa’s versions of Macbeth with Uma Thurman singing, I’m in. If not, please try harder. Good luck!