The Michigan Daily
Monday, March 21, 1988
By Deborah Cohen
If you are capable of sitting back,
relaxing and enjoying Karma, then
Kabuki Macbeth is for you. The
Acting Company, a non-profit orga-
nization touring for the John F.
Kennedy Center, performed a Kabuki
version of Shakespeare's Macbeth at
the Michigan Theatre Saturday
Kabuki, a Japanese art form, is a
highly stylized fusion of dance,
drama, and song. The Japanese fla-
voring in this production was mes-
merizing: the vivid colors, the au-
thentic costumes, the intonations of
speech, the pageantry of movement
- the production was a top-rate se-
Most memorable were the three
diabolical witches. Planting seeds of
badness, madness, and demonic de-
sire, these temptresses undoubtedly
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captured the audience in their spell
- if only the rest of the cast were
We first see Macbeth, bellowing
in victory over the traitor,
Kurokawa. Come to think of it -
that's all he seemed to do - bellow,
in both jubilation and despair.
When we first see Lady Macbeth,
she is lamenting that "Waiting - is
not easy." Played by a man, keeping
in the Shakespearian tradition, Lady
Macbeth was a strong presence on
the stage. The intensity of her
suffering charged the theatre as she
tried to get out those damned spots.
But the intensity was borne from her
expressive body movements, not her
There's the rub! Kabuki Macbeth,
like any theatrical interpretation, is
jarring with the liberties it takes
with both the story-line and points
of emphasis. The theatrics of
movement and speech were provoca-
tive, but the simplification of the
language distorted the music of
Shakespeare's original words - the
reason why his works endure. This
re-channeling of energy detracted
from the psychological suffering of
the characters. Periodically, the
audience was provoked to laughter
by this re-directed emphasis. I was
There were certainly many people
who were capable of digesting this
interesting fusion of these two very
diverse genres. When all is said and
done, however, nothing can take
away from the pleasure of reading
Shakespeare's words for yourself. No
production can truly capture the
essence of the words quite the same
as they can be captured in your own
mind. Kabuki Macbeth provided a
stimulating and challenging concept
with which audiences can grapple.
The three witches (Oni Faida Lampley, Alison Stair Neet, and Constance
Crawford) provided the most memorable performances in The Acting
Company's production of 'Kabuki Macbeth.'
LOST & FOUND
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evenings. $5-$8/hour. Located 2
BLOCKS from Student Union.
Call 996-8890. Ask for Mr. Rush.
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Research volunteers are paid for
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Monday-Thursday, 8 am - 3 pm.
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FOUND: PAIR of contacts in case - on the
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LOST: JEAN JACKET 3/12 Sat. at the Nec-
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The University of Michigan
SCHOOL OF MUSIC
The Piano Sonatas of Franz Schubert,
Eckart Sellheim, piano
Rescheduled from January 31
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Program includes Sousa, "Royal Welsh
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Hill Auditorium, 8:00 p.m. FREE.
For up-to-date program information on School of Music
events call the 24-Hour Music Hotline, 763-4726
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