I’ve just seen the first sketches of the set design for “Macbeth.”
I’d spent some time with my co-director, Aaron Posner, and the set
designer, Dan Conway, explaining some magic stage masking principles,
and offering a couple starting ideas on a design. Dan had brought in
huge amounts of research material, and I’d left that meeting confident.
Sunday night, April 30, Dan emailed his first concept sketch to the
design team. It’s everything I’ve dreamed of for the forty years
I’ve been dreaming of “Macbeth.” It’s scenically stunning and
perfect for the magic.
I can’t give out sketches yet, but I’ll give you a sense of it:
Picture a curved wall of iron, twenty feet tall, with its top raked
in at an distorting angle – Expressionist-style – and chopped off
crudely, as if with a torch.
This wall is the semi-circular backdrop to the set. In front of it
is a skeleton scaffolding of metal, forming an intricate two-story
cage with a set of steps that sweeps down stage right. The bars of
the cage have lines that shriek, evoking both prison cell and insane
dead trees. The set suggests indoors, outdoors, a fortress, a grand
ballroom, and a mental hospital all in one.
The sharp, twisted tops of the bars will look good with human heads
impaled on them.
The set is also subtly designed to facilitate the necessary vanishes,
apparitions, hallucinations, and bloodshed.
Mr. and Mrs. Bloody Macbeth, welcome home.