Macbeth

Check out video clips from productions of Macbeth with interesting dance and movement.

 

The movement of the nurses in Act 4, Scene 1 of Great Performance’s Macbeth adds to the ominous effect of the nurses and the scene as they chant their curse for Macbeth.  In this particular version of the play, the nurses appear from the very beginning of the scene and always signal evil and trouble for Macbeth: this scene is no exception.  The nurses’ movements can be characterized as jerky, unnatural, and creepy.  They convulse around three operating tables that support bloody corpses, cocking their necks and arms in awkward positions and twitching into strange poses that make no apparent sense to the audience.  At :42 in the clip, the nurses even lie flat on top of the corpse they are circling and pulse violently.  All of these movements suggest that the nurses have no control over their bodies, but are instead possessed by an evil force.  At :40, the nurses strike and hold uncomfortable-looking poses with their arms raised high towards a bright light in the operating room, further suggesting submission to an other worldly power.  The nurses certainly writhe about suddenly, but they still move in sync with each other and to the rhythm of the chant and the heart monitor.   The choreography also contrasts the sharp changes in poses with brief moments of control (one nurse’s slow, circular, backwards lean at :20 while she holds onto the operation table, and the slow and deliberate placement of the nurses’s hands on the corpse’s chest at :26).  Both the synchronization of movement between the three nurses and the contrast in speed of the movement further add to the effect of the scene: the choppy and weird movements demonstrate the nurses’ lack of bodily control in the presence of other worldly beings, while the devil’s work is being directly performed in the short-lived moments of control.  The eerie movement is clearly meant to be startling and scary, and when paired with the crazed looks on the nurses’ faces, the ominous chant, and the cold, relentless pulse of the heart rate monitor in the bloody hospital setting, this whole scene suggests evil and danger ahead for Macbeth and others.

 

Video Clip Details

Title of Clip: Double Double Toil and Trouble
Title of Work: Macbeth
Act and Scene: Act 4, Scene 1
Date of Performance: 2009
Location of Performance: Filmed in Welbeck Abbey, England, UK
Producer: Mark Bell, David Horn
Director: Rupert Goold
Performers:  Sir Patrick Stewart, Sophie Hunter, Polly Frame, Niamh McGrady
Choreographer: Not available
Date published or posted online: Oct 18, 2010
Publisher: indianink
Source URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DorcFBk4sf8
More Info: IMBd entry; produced by WNET.ORG and Illuminations Television in association with BBC; aired on PBS’s Great Performances series on October 6, 2010.

 

 

The second dance scene in Great Performance’s Macbeth is an outlandish and completely forced charade of joy among the guests at Macbeth’s home.  At this point in the play, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth host a banquet at their manor for some of the nobility, with the hope that the festive feast will show everyone that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are calm, collected, and happy in their new status; in reality, though, Macbeth is plotting against anyone who poses a threat to his kingship (most recently Banquo, whose ghost has already unnerved Macbeth and who appears at the end of the clip).  Just as the sense of genuine joy and coolness is artificial in the scene, the dance is also an absurd, false display of happiness among all involved.  The dance is competitive and rough: dancers must find a new partner to dance with when the music stops, or else they must dance to the goofy song using a dirty mop as a partner.  Notice that Macbeth never has to dance with the mop, but instead leaves his wife to waltz around the room with it.  Lady Macbeth switches between a painted grin and a sincere furrowed brow as she twirls around with the mop, further suggesting that she, too, is faking a calm appearance.  Macbeth is not the only one who is selfish and aggressive in this scene: at 1:11 one man kicks another man down when the music stops, and the dopey Ross is even forced to awkwardly dance on top of the table by another guest while everyone else watches.  The dance itself is showy and grandiose, with raised arms, twirls, Cossack kicks, and polka steps, keeping with the polka music. Macbeth even does a dramatic star jump at 1:08.  The choreography is perfect as a dance for the super wealthy and powerful, and it depicts the feeling in the air at the banquet: it captures the false sense of comfort  and highlights Macbeth’s desire for power as he secretly schemes against many of his guests for his own self-advancement.  The presence of the nurses as background members of the dance further suggests that Macbeth is up to no good.

 

Video Clip Details

Title of Clip: Macbeth Banquet with a Russian Dance
Title of Work: Macbeth
Act and Scene: Act 3, Scene 4
Date of Performance:  2009
Location of Performance: Filmed in Welbeck Abbey, England, UK
Producer: Mark Bell, David Horn
Director: Rupert Goold
Performers: Sir Patrick Stewart, Kate Fleetwood
Choreographer: Not available
Date published or posted online: Nov 4, 2011
Publisher: Aljaž Glaser
Source URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmYlU5_YxU0
More Info: IMBd entry; produced by WNET.ORG and Illuminations Television in association with BBC; aired on PBS’s Great Performances series on October 6, 2010.

 

 

Video Clip Details

Title of Clip: MacBeth Double Double Toil and Trouble Scene
Title of Work: Macbeth
Act and Scene: Act 4, Scene 1
Date of Performance:  2010
Location of Performance: Greer Auditorium, Central Christian College, McPherson, KS
Producer: Not  available
Director: Chris Gates
Performers:  Ruth Ong, Marion Appiah, Rachel Wells, Matthew Tuszynski
Choreographer: Not available
Date published or posted online: Sep 24, 2012
Publisher: Chris Gates
Source URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oVqB2Bx6cA
More Info: Performance by Central Christian College’s Theater Department

 

 

Video Clip Details

Title of Clip: Macbeth—Act 4, Scene 1
Title of Work: Macbeth
Act and Scene: Act 4, Scene 1
Date of Performance: March 2009
Location of Performance: Not available
Performers:  George, Nancy, Miriam, Subi, Zita
Date published or posted online: Mar 19, 2009
Publisher: ellhnaras700
Source URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pePpZuZ6HWw
More Info: Made for an IB English project

 

 

Video Clip Details

Title of Clip: Macbeth Act 4 Scene 1
Title of Work: Macbeth
Act and Scene: Act 4, Scene 1
Date of Performance: Jan 2010
Location of Performance: Not available
Director: Rachel Doktor
Performers:  Rachel Doktor, Tonya Lacey, Christy Johanas
Date published or posted online: Jan 13, 2010
Publisher: Rachel Doktor
Source URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vU2gqP5RfCc&index=5&list=PL2a26Nc6YpDoUuaq7FWXiP1XOeGZfMvoA
More Info: Made for an English project

 

 

Video Clip Details

Title of Clip: Macbeth Act 4 scene 1 part 1
Title of Work: Macbeth
Act and Scene: Act 4, Scene 1
Date of Performance:  June 2010
Location of Performance: Not available
Performers:  Madeline Johnson, Mikaela McParlan
Date published or posted online: Jun 21, 2010
Publisher: oldpeopleattack
Source URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkC9-wonGpE&list=PL2a26Nc6YpDoUuaq7FWXiP1XOeGZfMvoA&index=6
More Info: Made for an English project

 

 

Video Clip Details

Title of Clip: Utah Shakespearean Festival 2005 Dance
Title of Work: [Witches’ Dance from Macbeth]
Composer: E Nomine
Date of Performance: 2005
Location of Performance: Cedar City, UT
Dancers: Pleasant Grove High Shakespeare Team
Choreographer: Annette Goodrich
Date published or posted online: October 26, 2010
Publisher: ohmygollyface
Source URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2ubGgi7hH
More info:  Interpretive dance of the witches in Macbeth

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