Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Manic-depressive Lady M?

Joan isn't too happy about Lady Macbeth being played as crazy, but this report by Dave might just explain the unusual interpretation. Thanks to him for e-mailing this in.

When doing a quick search to prepare for my attempt at getting tickets yesterday, I found your blog quite helpful, but was saddened to see the criticisms towards Jennifer Ehle and was nervous about seeing her with a mediocre performance.

With Ehle being the sole reason I went, I was initially confused with her interpretation of Lady Macbeth. Almost all productions I've seen have played her as dark, sly, evil. When Ehle first appears and reads Macbeth's letter, I started off agreeing with the notion that she was just kinda saying lines and not really getting the emotion across. I wasn't getting the passion she would have for starting such mayhem. This had me heartbroken as I've seen her in Real Thing, Design for Living, and just happened to be in London during Philadelphia Story (and with Adrian Lukis as Dexter!) and loved her in everything. Biased? Certainly. BUT... when she and Macbeth reunite and she flies through her lines about the plot, particularly when she does the whole bit about smashing the baby's brains out and with no obvious grief about stooping so low, it starts appearing that she is playing Lady Macbeth as being bipolar, just spitting out ideas with little or no thoughts to the serious consequences. The rapid speaking and the eventual sleepwalking makes it even more apparent. When she does the "Out, damned spot!" business, she races down the steps and later races back up them, a huge departure from the normal interpretation of the Lady poking around like a whining zombie. Again, Ehle's energy makes her seem much more obvious of doing something really extreme to cause her later suicide, like jumping out of the palace window or slitting her wrists. Go to www.nimh.nih.gov/Publicat/bipolar.cfm#bp1 and every item could be checked off for her portrayal of Lady Macbeth.

And during the coronation scene, when she walks out on stage in the gown, she is STUNNING!

I loved it and was glad I waited four and a half hours until the ticket was in my hand....

1 comment:

Kate said...

A bipolar Lady Macbeth is an intriguing interpretation! I'm not at all surprised that JE would choose such an unconventional portrayal of LM.