Great Performances: Macbeth
THIRTEEN for WNET.ORG, Illuminations Television Ltd.
In this Great Performances production adapted by Rupert Goold from his 2008 theatrical staging, William Shakespeare’s Macbeth becomes an unnerving film noir, its story of power-lust, murder and guilt accentuated with dramatic camera angles and moody lighting. The production shifts the play’s setting to a more modern time. The costumes and the occasional snippets of grainy, black-and-white footage of artillery battles evoke the 1930s and ‘40s. As Macbeth, Patrick Stewart sports a heavy, Stalin-esque moustache. His castle is a maze of cold, tiled rooms and winding, naked tunnels that also evoke totalitarianism. Inventive touches abound the witches, got up in sisters-of-mercy habits, are at once seductive and chilling. And Goold seamlessly moves back and forth between his production team’s stylized soundstage sets and real, earthy locations. The cast, headed by Stewart, his Macbeth a fearsome warrior with a fatal vanity, and Kate Fleetwood, her Lady Macbeth a Vampira without a trace of camp, is splendid down to the smallest roles. For its bloody brilliant updating of Shakespeare, Great Performances: Macbeth receives a Peabody Award.
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Executive producers: David Horn (for Thirteen/WNET), Mark Bell. Producers: John Wyver, Sebastian Grant. Series producer: Bill O’Donnell. Director: Rupert Goold. Writer: William Shakespeare. Cast: Patrick Stewart, Kate Fleetwood, Michael Feast, Martin Turner, Scott Handy, Paul Shelley, Tim Treloar, Mark Rawlings, Bill Nash, Suzanne Burden, Polly Frame, Sophie Hunter, Niamh Mcgrady, Christopher Patrick Nolan, Hywel John, Christopher Knott, Ben Carpenter, Oliver Birch, Bertie Gilbert, Hugo Docking, Lillian Dummer, Madeleine Dummer. Editor: Trevor Waite. Director of photography: Sam McCurdy.