We focused the early part of this afternoon on the Weird Sisters. First on finesse in the cauldron scene,
then on the “All Hail!” scene. Scenes of stage magic are every bit as sensitive to nuance as sleight of hand.
Here we are trying to create the impression of insubstantial apparitions with bits of wood and paint and rubber.
So any hope we have of turning ugly physical reality into beautiful vision is pinned on finesse.
Then we turned to the “All Hail!” Weird Sister scene and worked to make the Sisters a little more threatening
a la Leatherface (and to polish the two tricks in the scene.)
Later in the afteroon, Aaron restaged an early scene with happy, legitimate King Duncan, to parallel and
contrast with a later scene with uneasy throne-thief Macbeth. You see the repetition and think, “Sure,
that’s what it means now I see what it means to murder and cheat your way into role you don’t deserve.”
That repetition seems like the “obvious” way to communicate the idea – but only after Aaron, so fluent
in the language of the theater, has made it “obvious.” You could put me on an island with the play for
fifty years and I would not have thought of a staging device so simple and eloquent.
We took a short break to eat something – I dined with Matt, Dan, and Kenny Woolesen, who told me about
making music with Butch Morris, who composes with musicians using a hand-signal system he calls “Conduction.”
He gives each musician a signal that sets him in a compositional mode in which he proceeds independently of
the other musicians. This is difficult for some musicians, who have been rigidly trained to synch themselves
with the others in their group. Kenny says that when Butch’s method is in operation, and when people are
deeply focused on themselves, so that now they can also hear others, some stunning sounds can emerge.
Then it was time for the show. I was very, very calm. I was eager and curious to experience the show with
an audience. Not nervous, just curious. And I was very prepared for lots of stuff to go wrong and feel
I was pleasantly surprised. The audience stayed with the show pretty much the whole way. They seemed
uncertain at times whether they were permitted to laugh (they’re welcome), and at other times whether
they should feel free to applaud at tricks or particularly flashy scenes (hell, yes.) I felt the acting
was by and large very solid, and was very pleased with some of the effects, less with others. I was very
much left feeling that the “air drawn dagger” was an incomplete idea. We’ll examine it again tomorrow.
Broadway light designer Jules Fisher and Bill Kalush attended and Jules had a suggestion or two but said it
seemed to him the smoothest first preview of a show he’d ever attended. “Now you can start to work on the
show,” he grinned.
Many folks I know showed up for the show, including a former student and one of my best friends from high
school, whom I’d not seen for more than forty years. I knew him immediately by the nutty grin.