THE MAKING OF MACBETH
by Kath Rogers and Bob Gwilym
Classic plays are those that enable us to explore the human condition regardless of time, age and cultural background. Macbeth shows us how relationships, emotions, obsessions and even political ambitions are universal and timeless; it’s only the context that changes.
Like most actors, our careers have embraced both theatre and TV. The idea for Macbeth began with an interest in what might happen if we combined those different skills and techniques in one production. What would spring from the collaboration between, say, a film editor and a theatre sound designer? How would technicians and artists respond to the creative challenge of a cross-fertilization?
The opportunity for a film crew to see their work on stage - and theatre technicians to apply their skills to film scenes – was one of the most exciting elements of this project. Our Assistant Theatre Director gained valuable experience working as a ‘Third’ on the film shoot. The administrative, technical, marketing and publicity staff of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre played a vital role in setting up the shoot. Directors, actors, stage management, sound technicians, cameraman, designer, composer, choreographer, fight director and costume supervisor all worked together to make this ambitious idea a reality.
We also received tremendous support from local people and the business community. A wide range of individuals and organisations helped us with everything from sponsorship, loan of equipment and studios to accommodation, haircuts, set dressing – and tanks! Such generous assistance surpassed our expectations and made Macbeth, in so many ways, a Bristol production.
It was particularly gratifying to film the Macbeth’s coronation in Bristol Cathedral with fifty children from Begbrooke Primary school as extras. Thanks to their teachers, the children came along with a real understanding of the story and had even made their own Lion Rampant flags to wave. Their enthusiasm was shared by everyone involved in the making of Macbeth.
We believe that this kind of creative collaboration - plus the willingness to take risks - is what makes theatre exciting, enjoyable and entertaining for all.