Tag Archives: Macbeth

2018: The Year of Macbeth

Macbeth is known as Shakespeare’s unluckiest play. For generations it has been referred to by the superstitious as “The Scottish Play” because even speaking its name inside the theatre could bring down disaster. There are many stories of accidents and … Continue reading

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Preserving Macbeth’s Birnam Wood

  I’ve only just caught up with the story of the real Birnam Wood. Birnam Wood in Scotland dates back to medieval times, but now just two trees survive: the Birnam Oak, which is thought to date back around 500 … Continue reading

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Reinterpreting Shakespeare – again

In 2013 Downton Abbey author Julian Fellowes was hauled over the coals for his film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, in which he rewrote large chunks of Shakespeare’s famous and much-loved play. His explanation just got him into more trouble: … Continue reading

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Suiting the word to the action: Dr Johnson and unsuitable language

You don’t have to look very far into Shakespeare’s works to find archaic words, or words difficult for us to understand. As well as coining new words, he made use of many that were probably already old-fashioned. Many words have … Continue reading

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Anticipating Macbeth on film

It doesn’t often happen that a Shakespeare film is dubbed “The “Most Anticipated Film” of the year, but this is how the adaptation of Macbeth directed by Justin Kurzel and starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard has been described. The … Continue reading

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Celebrating Shakespeare with Kenneth Branagh

Kenneth Branagh is best known as one of his generation’s finest Shakespearean actors and directors for both stage and film, so his latest project, a sweetly traditional film of the fairy tale Cinderella, comes as something of a surprise. It … Continue reading

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Vivien Leigh, Shakespeare’s lass unparalleled

In the theatre gardens in Stratford-upon-Avon is a silver birch tree planted in memory of Vivien Leigh, one of several dedicated to people who have worked at the theatres. At its base is a stone tablet, with her dates of birth … Continue reading

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Witchcraft on page and stage

The Royal Shakespeare Company is currently staging the multi-authored play The Witch of Edmonton, first performed in 1621. It’s easy to see how attractive the play is since its subject relates so closely to Macbeth. In Shakespeare’s play the weird … Continue reading

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The Gunpowder plot: terrorism in Shakespeare’s restless world

For over 400 years 5 November has been a day of celebration, though it’s now thought of as Bonfire Night with little reference to its origins with the 1605 plot to blow up the King, the Lords and the Commons … Continue reading

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British Black and Asian Shakespeare

We’re in the middle of Black History Month 2014, and it’s a good moment to draw attention to a major project on the history of non-white performers of Shakespeare. British Black and Asian Shakespeare is run by Professor Tony Howard … Continue reading

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