Macbeth - Verdi opera
''MACBETH - Muetter & Herrscher' Buehnenbild ' (G. Verdi opera)
Staging concept, scene design, costumes by Karola Luettringhaus.
Photo above by Karola Luettringhaus.
'MACBETH - Muetter & Herrscher' Buehnenbild
Die schraege 'Insel-Buehne'
Auf der Buehne befindet sich eine Insel, eine angeschraegte Platform. 90% der Handlung findet auf dieser Insel
statt. Diese Platform hat eine zweistufige Schraege, wobei die vordere Haelfte ein geringeres Gefaelle aufweist,
als die hintere Haelfte. Solange die Saenger auf der vorderen Schraege sind, befinden sie sich in guter Distanz zum Publikum, Orchester und Dirigenten. Die zweite Haelfte wird ueberwiegend von einem Bewegungschor bespielt. Fuer die Grosse Szene der Erscheinungen, wo Saenger am hintersten Rand der Buehne, und auf dem aufs Maximale herausgefahrenen Podest, singen, werden Mikrophone benutzt. Man kann die Begrenzungen der Insel sehen und man kann auch beobachten, wie Akteure die Insel verlassen oder betreten. Der Lady ist diese Bewegung aber nicht moeglich. Sie kann die Insel nie verlassen.
Ein Plafond schwebt ueber der gleichgrossen Inselplatform. Dieser Plafond beginnt in geschlossener Positionund oeffnet sich langsam im Tandem mit dem Empfinden der Lady Macbeth, dass sie sich Freiraum und Macht erobert. Am Anfang, der Szene mit den Hexen ist der Plafond ganz herausgefahren (nicht sichtbar). In der ersten Szene der lady ist der Plafond fast ganz geschlossen und beginnt dann sich langsam, unmerklich, immer weiter zu oeffnen, bis er dann zum Bankett voellig verschwunden ist und auch nicht wieder erscheint.
Der Unterschied zwischen natuerlicher Bodenbeschaffenheit und glaenzender Flaeche ist sehr wichtig. Die Welt des Macbeth und der Lady Macbeth muss glatt und spiegelnd sein. In ihr befindet sich nichts, an dem man sich festhalten koennte, nichts, was einem Anhaltspunkte ueber Normalitaet geben koennte. Den beiden ist, durch die 'Natur' ihrer Beziehung, der Boden unter den Fuessen entzogen worden. Sie leben in einer kargen Welt, in der nichts existiert ausser ihnen.
Der tote Vogel
Maenner und Frauen haben den Verlust ihrer Freiheit zu verzeichnen und damit auch den Verlust ihrer Unschuld, denn sie müssen sich zensieren, sich ständig kontrollieren und ihre Taten und ihre Denkweisen den vorgegebenen Schemen anpassen. Das Symbol für diesen Zustand ist der tote Vogel, der zum visuellen und emotionalen Zentrum meines Bühnenbildes wird. Die Hexen sehen den Vogel, haben ihn erkannt fuer das, was er ist. Die anderen sehen ihn grundsaetzlich erst einmal nicht. In der Szene der Erscheinungen trifft Macbeth auf die Vision der Zukunft, der Wahrheit und der Existenz des Vogel. Nur kurz sieht er die Welt, wie sie ist, und wird ohnmaechtig. Die Lady ist sich des Vogels erst ganz am Schluss bewusst, und sie ertastet ihn nur, sie klettert in
ihm herum, fuehlt ihn und stirbt unter der last ihrer Schuld. Der Vogel wird von den hexen nach der Szene der erscheinungen, waehrend der Ohnmacht des Macbeth aufgeruestet. Sie bauen ein Geruest und packen alles, was sie nur koennen in dieses geruest hinein, um den Eindruck zu erwecken, man haette hier eine grosse Kriegsmaschiene, eine maechtige Magie, die auf Seiten des Macbeth kaempft. Der Zuschauer weiss aber mittlerweile um die Tatsache, dass Macbeth die Weissagungen der Hexen missinterpretiert, dass ihm selbst ein duesteres Schicksal droht. Er sieht den Vogel nicht und wirkt in jenes Schatten wie ein winziges Figuerchen.
Special thanks go to TU Berlin Buehnenbild-Senischer Raum, Prof. Kerstin Laube and Prof. Antje Kaiser for guidance with this project.
'Macbeth - Mothers and Rulers'
Staging and Concept, Play analysis, my understanding and interpretation of Shakespeare's play
The psyche of the human is at the center of my concept
The human being can only be in harmony with itself when whole.
The splitting of the human into two genders and assigning two particular sets of gender appropriate characteristics has fatal consequences on the life of the individual, as well as for society and thereby for humanity as a whole.
The result of this split is a reduction of the person to only a fraction of it's entire spectrum.
Both, men and women, are robbed of their completeness, of their freedom and their humanity.
Roles are clearly delineated and trespasses of these borders are undesirable and possibly punisheable.
I am proposing the hypothesis that on the bottom line, the division of human beings into men and women leaves us with only two archetypes: mothers and rulers. This I believe is exemplified in Shakespeare's text 'Macbeth'. Whereas many people interpret Lady Macbeth's woes as being unfulfilled as a woman, I beg to differ and argue that her truthful desire is to be a leader, which is denied to her. She vicariously lives through her husband, who is not interested in power.
A woman is on;y a 'real' woman if she is also a mother. From infancy she is brought up the believe and desire this role. A man is only a 'real' man if he is the ruler of his immediate or further environment and the people within it.
The woman is assigned the role of the subjugate and respect is earned in old age, if ever. The man has the role of the 'strong' and leads the woman on her path.
Neither one is complete without the other.
The man is not allowed to do 'women's work', and the woman no 'man's work'. This creates a symbiotic relationship, that is tragic for both. Autonomy is discouraged and Dependence is the result.
Victims and Perpetrators
This interdependence is cruel and detrimental; both men and women are both victims and perpetrators.
one result is that men and women become enemies. They envy one another, do not understand one another, use each other. They have to use the other to achieve their goals, to get what they want from life.
The relationship between men and women, under these rules, is never unburdened, never equal, and is passed in this manner from adults to children, who learn that men and women can never find common ground. (the book 'Women are from venus, men are from mars' was not written during Shakespeare's times....)
Dysfunktion and Perversion – Execution of Power - Psychological Incest
The woman is at once mother and daughter, never autonomous. The relationship between mother and son could easily derail, especially, if the mother wants to live the life she is not allowed through her son.This is my starting point in 'Macbeth'. Through an archetypal indentity, a grave conflict ensues, if the ideal assignment of roles is not met, and a woman does not want to be a mother or daughter, and the man does not want to be a ruler.
Simplified, the woman executes her power through her husband, son, brother, or father.
She does this because she is not allowed, or able, to view herself as physically capable. She manipulates the men with psychological methods, with intimidation, by reminding him of his lacking masculinity. Guilt, fear and imagination drive his actions.
Further simplified, the execution of power of the male, or the demonstration of power, happens via the sword, violence. Sensitivity or weakness are not acceptable. In the end these two areas, Physicality and Psyche are the two areas that get violently destroyed on the two protagonists, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
Macbeth gets beheaded and Lady Macbeth goes insane.
In my staging of this play I portray the two within an ambiguous relationship that could be husband and wife as well as mother and son. Both have entered a perverted incestuous relationship, mentally for sure.
I want these boundaries to be unclear to illustrate my hypothesis that there are basically only two kinds of people, mothers and rulers.
The woman is removed from worldliness, she is assigned to house and kitchen. She can not comprehend the world of the man, because she has no insight. She remains intentionally isolated and naive.
This constellation of dependence and manipulation I would call black magic.
Lady Macbeth wants the throne, she can not reach it, so her husband has to get it for her.
War with Nature
nature does not care if we act male or female. Nature care about the continuation of life. By creating artificial categories, such as male and female, we are turning our back on nature, in a way.
We impose new rules on nature. In the play, nature gets destroyed, the land devastated. Wars a waged. War is the underlying theme of the play.
The Loss and death of Freedom
Both sexes have lost their freedom and by that their innocence, because they have to censor themselves and each other to fit the mold. The symbol for this state, for this loss is the dead bird in my scene design. It becomes the centerpiece of the set, an emotional and visual focal point. Lady Macbeth and Macbeth do not care about their country, what they care about is their own gain, their own freedom, about authority, power, and autonomy. To attain these they go the very edges of their capacity and ultimately into death because the whole situation explodes into entropy.
Blurry Identity Divisions
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are so intertwined, that their identities are hard to delineate.
Macbeth has to and does prove himself in battle and as a leader to some degree but he remains dependent on Lady Macbeth and vice versa. She insults him, tells him, he is not a real man. He suffers from his lack of identity, an identity, that is actually hers.
She drives him to his death, through her naivite/disconnect to the outside world and her intense desire for power. His feelings of guilt turn to hatred, until he becomes emotionally katatonic even when faced with lady Macbeth's death. Her death now is no salvation for him any more. His victories have never been important to him. His complexes and his increasing hatred for her leads him into a quasi psychotic state, flattened affect and resignation. He punishes her with his increasingly cruel acts, until she finally sees the devastation she caused in him. Her only solution is suicide.
Macbeth's terror grows exponentially and his self-image gets more and more distorted, everyone around him, the land are destroyed. He has to be removed from power.
The World of Those that Don't Fit In
The witches embody and represent those that capitulated at this split of human beings into men and women. The majority of the witches are women, but there are also some men.
They suggest, prophesize, the wield power, indirectly. But they are also excluded form society. They are anarchic powers, forces that the 'normal' people are afraid of.
They witnessed and overcame the split/division they are able to look behind the veil.
The hold older knowledge within them. They are both 'male' and 'female'. The color of the witches costume is white, like the bones of the dead bird. Both Banquo and Macbeth take note of the lack of gender markers by which to identify the witches. The witches are like blank sheets of paper, projection surfaces for anything that society sees in them. Labels to be applied.
Lady Macbeth believes to have the power of the witches, but she does not posses their power, not realizing that the witches also are only victims who are not seen for what they truly are..human beings.
I interpret Lady Macbeths similarity with the witches as part of her distorted interpretation of the world, her lack of seeing an understanding of reality.
The witches can foresee the future, because , under the given circumstances, the end is apparent.
In a sense, the witches are like the un-dead, ostracized from a society that is not based on logic and needs constant re-evaluation, re-affirmation and upholding of artificially created laws.
Macbeth realizes this in the 'scene of great visions'. Characterizing to me is the prophesy he receives that he can only be killed by someone that doesn't have a mother. I think that says it all.