Posted 12 June 2007 - 10:46 AM
As for realism, you don't seriously think someone speaking Macbeth in a modern Scottish accent bears significant resemblance to how a medieval Scottish king would have sounded! Even if he did it in Shakepearean English as pronounced in Shakespeare's time, you'd struggle to understand it (the Globe has experimented with this).
Posted 12 June 2007 - 11:56 AM
If it's all about our imagination, why do they bother with sets/costumes etc etc. If it was all about imagination, the actors could sit on chairs all in a row, stand up to say their lines, wearing what they'd come in off the street in and by your logic, we should be able to get as much from that as a full scale production.
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should
Posted 12 June 2007 - 12:23 PM
Yes, indeed they could, and in some plays they do. But it isn't compulsory that they should! Variety is key, obviously. What I'm objecting to is a prescriptive literal approach - the idea that the audience will have a problem unless Macbeth is done with Scottish accents, or unless actors playing blood relatives are ethnically identical and have the same accents, etc.
Posted 12 June 2007 - 12:31 PM
I too have struggled to think of seeing a Scottish Macbeth out of the 10+ I have seen - Michael Pennington wore a kilt but did not convince as a Jock. Has Brian Cox ever played it ? He should.
Posted 12 June 2007 - 01:42 PM
Posted 12 June 2007 - 10:35 PM
If you know a bit about aristocracies in any country you probably know that that they all spoke in posh [ or French , if you were Russian] and only the peasants had the 'accent' we now associate with whatever part of our isles we are referring to. Shakespeare was of course aware of accent as in the Henry plays and the Welsh soldier and the others who are clearly meant to be of a lower social status than the main characters so I think he had no intention of making Macbeth sound anything like a yokel.
As for having a mixed race cast and a mixed race 'family', let's have the best actors whatever they look like - as Olivier once said, 'You can ACT, can't you?' Sarah Bernhardt played Hamlet when she was a middle aged woman with a wooden leg. Marvellous.
Posted 13 June 2007 - 08:42 AM
It's rare to have absolute consistency in Shakespeare. Yes, the Russian design in Lear may have been consistent but by the argument being presented, they should all have had Russian accents.
As a director myself, the only thing I require from an actor is that their vocal quality and acting ability are suited to the role - if that ability and quality come wrapped up in broad Scots or perfect RP, it doesn't make a difference - accent doesn't indicate if someone can capture the soul of a character.
I understand what people are saying about bad productions and an odd mix of accents (particularly amongtst family members) can be just another thing to add to your irritation but the principle can't be that all accents should be standardised within a single production. That leads us back to the John Gielgud school of RP beautiful voices and anyone who has seen the best of the work by Northern Broadsides, Propellor and a million productions in Scotland and Ireland know that is not a style which is required anymore. Just give us good acting in any accent - the actor's own or one which suits the character (and I mean the character, not their function - ie. king of Scotland who bears no resemblance to the historical figure bearing his name does not need to be Scottish)
Posted 13 June 2007 - 10:46 AM
Posted 13 June 2007 - 02:04 PM
I like all my Shakespeares directed by Oxbridge graduates though.
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