Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A Mid Summer Murder


And so to Argyle, and thence to the grounds of Christ’s Church just outwith, at Bishop’s Town. There to see the Mummers, strolling players which had fetched up there, and were to perform ‘The Historical, Extraordinary, and Lamentatious History of King Macbeth, and His Violent and Bloody Death’, Also known as ‘My Name is Macbeth’ which indeed we did know, it being writ large on an hoarding.
A select band of gentlefolk had assembled at the chosen hour, and I was much dismayed to perceive that there were but three players to perform this historical tragedy, where I wondered were the cohorts and minions, the nobles and leaders of the various factions, and was remonstrating with my companion at the lack of dramatic forces or indeed any forces, when I was forcefully hushed by my companion as the entertainment commenced.
Invited to follow my lord Macbeth, played by a well set up young man, bearded and of good bearing, and indeed he did have many kingly virtues and manners despite him not yet being King, off round the grounds at Bishop’s Town we set, following the player who led us through the opening of the story as well as the tree lined paths and meeting another character did greet him as MacDuff, though  in truth the part was played by a comely wench, I believe such parts are known as ‘breeches parts’ and I did perceive that she did fill them better than any man I know of. This ‘fellow’, addressed as MacDuff, was to be our guide it seemed, through the intricacies of the plot.
And what a lewd and bawdy performance there followed, were it not done with such subtlety it might well have caused offense but such was the exuberance of the performance, played as a sort of universal Punchinello, being all things to all men, that no such offense was caused, and this despite being exhorted to imitate opposing armies in mock battle, we I realised, were to be the missing cast! And so it proved, as audience members were invited to become missing characters, which with degrees of confidence they readily performed.
The principle parts were excellently portrayed with such skill that one might have been in a playhouse, rather than standing under Gods own heaven, accompanied by the racket of jackdaws and the shrieking of gulls. Lady Macbeth, with much sly insinuation did play upon Macbeth’s fears and ambitions, such that he became but a pawn in her own power play. I was much taken with this actress, who it seems is principle player in a variety of dramatic conceits. Her machinations prove successful and foul and bloody murder is done by the hapless Macbeth, I fear that should this have been enacted there were those in the audience who might have fainted clean away such was the skill of the actor.
 As might be supposed, such bloody deeds are met with other such deeds and Macbeth was suitably slain by the MacDuff character though in truth I can not remember if this be the case it being some time since I read this play, but it mattered not, all was done with splendid gusto. The final agonies of this drama were enacted in the Christ’s Church, lit by candles; the encroaching shadows lending much to the conclusion of this exceedingly well acted drama, and it was with much satisfaction that we repaired to our lodgings.

The Walking Theatre Company performed 'My Name is Macbeth'
at the Mid Summer Fair  Christ Church Lochgilphead

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