Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter rehearsal period, Tuesday

"To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus."
Macbeth III.i

Today, we read Macbeth. The dynamic is different. We’ve been reading for a day, and getting a little brazen. Actor-teachers enjoy different voices and exciting interpretation. And get a little goofy. People get on their feet, play out scenes while reading, engage in an impromptu swordfight, and rip their shirt off. Well, Brian did.

Macbeth is a creepy bloodbath, with apparitions, witches and demons, and blood, blood, blood. Reading this text lends a certain zaniness. Yesterday, following the reading, we had a deeply personal discussion about relationships, trust and the power of love. There’s an understand between this team that made it possible to share some very intimate thoughts. But I found expressing the foundation of our emotional desires a much easier conversation than what came today. This is as true in the classroom as it was around our table.

It is sometimes a challenge getting students to take Macbeth serious from a discussion standpoint. More than one actor-teacher has had to have a conversation with a student who will dismiss a hard question because they have no personal experience with murder. Fair enough. But what about ambition, everyone hopes to achieve, how far will they go in pursuit of their goals.

"Well … I wouldn’t kill anybody."

Of course not. I mean, I might, but I get you.

Answer me this … what is the worst thing you have ever done? Take a moment. Think about it. You don’t have to say it out loud. Why did you do it? What did you get out of it? Were you caught or punished? What does right or wrong mean when there is no human constant of right and wrong? I have no problem with eating hamburger.

But meat is murder.

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