Tales of Two Under-Cultures 7


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"It's you, it's me, it's us."
 

This blog is connected to TTC 6, which I posted yesterday.

I am watching a PBS series of short documentaries on Shakespeare called Shakespeare Uncovered. They are really good. They are opening up his mind and his writing to me as never before. Also showing how dramatic writing can be more powerful and more precise than my didactic prose.

Here are a few lines from the transcript of the first documentary that gives full voice to the theme of this blog series:

Ethan Hawke:

When you think of violent murder, brutal crimes, and nightmarish horrors, you might think of a big city…Or, if you are like me, you would think of a 400-year old play named Macbeth…This is the story of one man who will kill his way to win the Scottish throne…

The play may be 400 years old, but anybody paying attention can recognize everybody in it. They can recognize the evil in the heart of man. Nobody has ever drawn a more beautiful portrait of a broken, greedy heart than the bloody heart of Macbeth.

Macbeth…a traitor, a butcher, a serial killer, and yet what is so powerful is that Shakespeare hasn’t written a play about a monster. He’s written a play about a man.

Anthony Sher:             

Shakespeare’s great gift as a writer is that he never holds people at arm’s length. He never says, ‘Look at this person. Isn’t he disgraceful.’ Or, ‘Isn’t he ridiculous.’ Shakespeare always says, ‘It’s me, it’s you, it’s us.’ He always does that. It is his great gift.

Hawke:          

This powerful sense of our shared humanity is in the text of the play, and it would just to be the core of what I would draw on to play the part.

Hawke:           

To my mind, the greatest challenge in playing Macbeth is how do I get people to care about him? …you can’t do that by trying to be likeable or something. You have to do it by being a human being, ‘cause while you may not forgive them or anything, you would at least have empathy for their humanity and the crisis they’ve gotten themselves into and relate to it on some level. And that’s—that’s the big magic trick, I think.

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