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December 10, 2009 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-12-10

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S

The Michigan Daily I michigandaily.com I Thursday, December 10, 2009

weekend
essentials
Dec.10 to Dec.13
MUSIC
Hudson Mohawke's
Butter could be the
most emotionally drain-
ing electronica release
of 2009. Rife with
disorientingly glitch-
chopped vocal loops,
campy Super Nintendo
synths and a nauseat-
ing layer of neon retro-
tackiness, the record
is the sonic equivalent
of a John Waters film:
a flamboyant feast of
self-consciously cheap
entertainment. Long
story short, give it a
listen this weekend.

1'HJ ~UU~

EUU " I I

ON DISPLAY

The school of MT&D's production of'Macbeth'
triumphs over a curse and the scope of Shakespeare

t's just coincidence,"
Philip Kerr says of the supersti-
tions that swirl around Shake-
speare's "Macbeth."
"I don't personally believe that
spirits are throwing rocks at us or
anything."
Kerr, professor of theater and
drama in the School of Music,
Theatre & Dance, will direct the
Department of Theatre & Drama's
performance of "Macbeth" this
weekend at the Power Center for
the Performing Arts.
It's well known in showbiz that
"Macbeth" is cursed. In one 17th-
century production, the actor
playing King Duncan was alleg-
edly murdered when a real dag-
ger was used instead of a fake one
for his stabbing scene. At least 25
people died in the Astor Place Riot
of 1849, which was spurred by a
rivalry between two well-known
actors both playing - who else -
Macbeth. And in a 1953 produc-
tion starring Charlton Heston, a
sudden gust of wind blew flames
from a realistically staged battle
scene onto Heston. He was severely
burned - as it turned out, someone
had soaked his tights in kerosene.
Kerr has been lucky so far in
this production, save a few bouts
of swine flu in the cast - still, he
insists, "touch wood and please

A talking goat who
thinks he's a unicorn
is taking center stage
in Studio One at the
Waigreen Drama
Center. "0 Lovely
Glowworm" features
a taxidermied animal
telling a story about
mermaids, toilets and
everything in between.
The play was written
by Emmy winner Glen
Berger who adapted
the forthcoming
"Spider-Man" musi-
cal for Broadway. The
performance is free
and starts at 8 p.m.

don't say anything."
When Kerr played the Scottish
lord Ross in the 1988 Broadway
revival of "Macbeth," it was a dif-
ferent story. That show was plagued
by changes in directors, sets and
actors, and lead Christopher Plum-
mer (known for his leading roles in
movies like "The Sound of Music"
and "Up") was injured multiple
times in multiple accidents.
There are several theories
behind the "Macbeth" curse. Some
say Shakespeare lifted some of his
lines for the "Macbeth" witches
from actual spells, causing real-
life witches to jinx the play. Oth-
ers point to King James, the ruler
for whom Shakespeare allegedly
wrote "Macbeth," who believed in
witchcraft and even wrote a book
on demonology.
Even saying the name "Mac-
beth" aloud in the theater, some
say, can lead to grave misfortune.
And so it is often referred to as
"The Scottish Play," and its lead
actors as "Mac-ers."
Depending on the theater com-
pany, 'there are certain cleansing
rituals for those who accidentally
say "Macbeth" - including one
in which the culprit turns around
three times, spits over his or her
left shoulder and recites a line from
another work of Shakespeare. In

some circles, one just has to swear.
But safe within the walls of the
Power Center, Kerr isn't afraid to
let his actors say the name.
"(The character of Macbeth) is
intriguing, but not totally sympa-
thetic, and that may contribute to
(the superstitions)," Kerr added.
Shakespearean tragedies tend to
have flawed leads - Hamlet and
Romeo come to mind - but Mac-
beth is different, dark and at times
downright unlikable.
"I believe that Macbeth is essen-
tially a good- man whose mind is
poisoned by the witches and cor-
rupted further by his wife," coun-
ters Music, Theatre & Dance senior
Thomas Wolfson.
Wolfson might be a little biased
- he plays Macbeth - but he
doesn't see the character as "a
moustache-twisting villain." Wolf-
son will indeed sport a moustache
for the performance, though.
"Macbeth" is Shakespeare's
shortest and most violent tragedy.
It deals with dirty, primal ambi-
tion - the power couple at its cen-
ter consists of a man who considers
murdering his king but doesn't
have the guts and the heartless
wife who emasculates him so much
that he finally commits the crime.
After three witches deliver a
prophecy that he will become

king, the Scottish general Mac-
beth - upon his wife's urging and
taunting - murders King Duncan
and assumes the throne. But the
couple's bloody power trip soon
threatens the Macbeths' own san-
ity and lives.
Though the casualty count is
lower than that of "Hamlet," dam-
aged psyches and selfish motives lie
at the heart of "The Scottish Play."
"Macbeth" in Desperate Times
Kerr's investigation into the
play's themes . of "disease and
wounds and blood and light and
dark" led him to set the play not
in 11th century Scotland as Shake-
speare did, or in 1606 England
where it was written, but rather in
a World War I-era field hospital.
Though most productions
of "Macbeth" use a vaguely
"Braveheart"-like medieval Scot-
tish setting, shifting the play's time
and place isn't rare. Kerr points to a
Canadian production last summer
that set the play in revolutionary
South America.
The landscape of Kerr's "Mac-
beth" was inspired by an actual
World War I-era picture of a
bombed-out church that had been
converted into a field hospital. Kerr
See MACBETH, Page 4B

FILM
The new Michael Cera
sex comedy "Youth
in Revolt," filmed in
Ann Arbor along with
other Michigan cities,
is screening tonight at
the State Theater at
7:30 p.m. So if you're
looking for a cheap
study break, get there
early to guarantee a
seat. The film's mar-
keting team may have
done a bad job pro-
moting the event, but
trust us, it's happening.

SThere's a sense of transformation

CONCERT
Be sure to get your
final a cappella fix
before you head
home for winter
break with Univer-
sity favorite Amazin'
Blue. As Michigan's
oldest co-ed a cap-
pella group, Blue
has been featured
multiple times on
Varsity Vocals' Best
of College A Capella
CD. Come see their
fall concert Sat-
urday night at 8
p.m. at Rackham
Auditorium. Tick-
ets are $10.50.

DESIGN BY MO STTCH

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