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What? No Macbeth Opening Night Review Thread? (SPOILERS)

nomdeplume
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/20/05
Strapless, at that.
LucilleAndLeoFrank
Leading Actor
joined:4/29/05
Leading Actor
joined:
4/29/05
Liev will sign autographs but don't expect him to be overly chatty. I've met him several times and have gotten the impression that he's an intensely shy person, very uncomfortable with large crowds. An introvert. But he's still very cordial and will sign for everyone waiting.

Jennifer signed after The Real Thing a few years ago and took pictures.
LionessInWinter
Broadway Star
joined:8/23/05
Broadway Star
joined:
8/23/05
Thanks, Yankeefan!

Liev sounds like Ralph Fiennes. I've heard Jennifer is very nice to fans. Thanks.
Updated On: 6/19/06 at 06:56 PM
LionessInWinter
Broadway Star
joined:8/23/05
Broadway Star
joined:
8/23/05
Well, I enjoyed this Macbeth very much overall with a few annoyances. I say this as a Macbeth or Shakespeare non-purist and having gone in with no preconceptions for the most part.

The very good: Liev Schreiber! Fabulous when he sees Banquo's ghost especially. Just all around loved him.
To insert a shallow observation...the costumer knows how to dress that man. re: Can This Macbeth Be Saved?  (MEGASPOILERS) Looked especially nice in the tux with collar open and another black outfit later. Not to upset to see the sleeveless shirt later on, too. Nice arms. re: Can This Macbeth Be Saved?  (MEGASPOILERS)

The not quite as good: Jennifer Ehle. I didn't think she was horrible by any means, she was good mostly, but at the beginning, I could see what Nomdeplume meant. Her first speaking bit, she sounded too much like Elizabeth Bennett talking frantically to her aunt and uncle while trying to get away after meeting Mr. Darcy by chance at Pemberley. (Any BBC P&P fans should know what I mean). She sounded oddly like Keira Knightley there, too. re: Can This Macbeth Be Saved?  (MEGASPOILERS)
Later on, I thought her cadence was inconsistent. Sometimes a bit fast, sometimes just fine. I would've liked to see her be more subtle at first, as I think it would've been more effective to show her off as ambitious and calculating.
I did like her outfits for the most part.

The highly annoying: The whole bit going on before the play actually starts. All the war sounds while a few soldiers move around the set, a couple of them lie there dead. Not sure why, but it irritated me more as it went on. I was sitting in the theater for about 25 mins before it started (almost 15 mins late) and it became increasingly annoying. Just a bit of sensory overload for me for some reason. Though the one soldier walking back and forth was very cute. re: Can This Macbeth Be Saved?  (MEGASPOILERS)

The occasional ominous music was a bit annoying as well. And in one piece of music that was used at least twice, the first 2 long notes sounded freakishly like the first 2 notes in the original Star Trek theme drawn out. I know that sounds weird and no one probably would notice really, but it struck me quite a bit each time I heard it.

No luck at stage door. About a dozen people were out there for maybe 20 mins, then the "gatekeeper" said Jennifer had left already and there was a rehearsal for the others until 1am (though I saw the actor who played Duncan walk out not long after I got there). Liev Schreiber had been standing near the gate talking for at least 10 mins to someone who had come backstage earlier and had given him a big hug. Right after his guest left, we were told what I said above. I didn't buy it, but it didn't matter to me one way or the other. I was only there to see if I could talk to Jennifer briefly to ask a question a friend in another state had asked me to ask her.

It's not perfect, I suppose, but I'd recommend it. I wouldn't mind seeing it again.
nomdeplume
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/20/05
How's it coming along? Changes? Anything new?
squirrelchaser
Swing
joined:6/16/06
Swing
joined:
6/16/06
I saw this last Saturday and am not, by any measure, an expert at Shakespeare. In fact, the last time I saw Shakespeare, it was in college and Hamlet was played by a woman.

That said, I really liked Liev Schreiber's performance. He seemed at such ease with the lines and delivered them effortlessly and flawlessly. The Weird Sisters were enjoyable, and I thought one of the best parts of the play was them pulling different apparitions out of the cauldron.

Like many others, I also found Lady Macbeth to be the weakest link. To me, Lady M is supposed to be scheming and manipulative, and really wear the pants behind the whole operation. This one was kind of a dud. She also delivered her lines in a way that felt completely out of sync with the other actors. I found the scene where she's going mad and looking at the blood on her hands to be almost comical. I can't help wonder if this was the director's choice. If you have a big star like Liev Schreiber, do you want to make him the strongest and play down the other characters?

I also found Macduff's son to be completely creepy, but maybe he's supposed to be...

All in all, I thought it was a good production and it's free, so try to go!

For those wondering, I got to the Public around 11am on a Saturday, and was probably half way down the line. I had no trouble getting tickets and it looked like the people behind us were fine.
LucilleAndLeoFrank
Leading Actor
joined:4/29/05
Leading Actor
joined:
4/29/05
Loads of spoilers follow, so proceed with caution.

I did the cancellation line on Tuesday night. I got on line at around six and was about the fifteenth person in line. The first person had gotten there at around 3, according to the line monitor. At 6:30, the line monitor began passing out tickets to those with stand-by vouchers (only 25 vouchers had been handed out that morning, and at least 10 people didn't show). At around 7:20, she moved over to the cancellation line and began distributing returns to us. I got an excellent seat in the seventh row, dead center. The house opened at 8:10 and the performance started around 8:35.

I thought the production was very good and found Liev Schreiber to be engrossing. He has always been one of my favorite actors and has proven himself a gifted Shakespearean time and time again. Having seen him as Henry V, Hamlet and Iago-as well as Laertes in the film version of Hamlet-I would say that this is his most accomplished Shakespearean performance yet.

Given the negative reports I'd read on here and All That Chat about Jennifer Ehle, I was prepared to dislike her. However, I thought she was entirely appropriate as Lady Macbeth. People forget that Lady MacB is supposed to be a strong-willed woman with an iron fist, not a weak-willed sheep who follows her husband's every command. Ehle got that, and her firm delivery and forceful body language seemed entirely plausible.

The ensemble was quite good on the whole, with the exception of Florencia Lozano as Lady MacDuff. She was incredibly annoying and basically just screamed her way through her one scene. Lady MacDuff should be level-headed, to contrast Lady Macbeth's madness. As played by Lozano, Lady MacDuff is crazier than a crackhouse rat.

Sterling K. Brown and Teagle F. Bougere were terrific as MacDuff and Banquo, respectively. The Weird Sisters were outstanding, and Lynn Cohen wonderfully doubles as the Porter and steals the show for a few brief moments.

Moises Kaufman's direction was strong, with one notable exception: He plays the scene in which Macbeth sees Banquo's ghost at the dinner table for laughs, which is totally wrong. That should be CHILLING, but it currently comes off as funny. Other than that, I liked many of his artistic choices.

And Ehle is definitely not wearing a bridal dress at the coronation. The play is set in the post-WWI jazz age, and she wears a cocktail dress that is certainly period appropriate. Her costumes and wigs were all stunning.

Is this a perfect production? No. But it's still highly recommendable. I would suggest to all of those who saw the show in early previews to go back and see it again. They have gotten a lot more rehearsal in and it's surely running much tighter now.

Also, for those who are interested, Liev, Jennifer and the rest of the cast were all very kind at the stage door. They all came out within a half-hour of curtain.

Jim
nomdeplume
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/20/05
How did it go with the reviews for Macbeth and how's the show doing?

Here's the NY Times, Isherwood:

"That they don't quite deliver enough has less to do with their talents than with matching actors to roles. Mr. Schreiber and Ms. Ehle offer finely detailed portraits of complex people breaking apart as their murderous acts reverberate in their minds and in the world around them. But at no point do these fine artists seem possessed by their slightly supernatural characters. We leave impressed by the dedication of actors to their craft, not hollowed out by a hair-raising encounter with two of Shakespeare's darkest and most disturbing creations."

http://theater2.nytimes.com/2006/06/29/theater/reviews/29macb.html

LionessInWinter
Broadway Star
joined:8/23/05
Broadway Star
joined:
8/23/05
I ran across a print copy of the (Newark?) Star Ledger today that wasn't favorable at all. Not even to Liev.
nomdeplume
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/20/05
Wow, thanks Madame X.

No way I had the time or ability to gather those. (I am working about 90 hours this week--I kid you not.)

And Lioness, if you want to type a little quote from the most interesting part of that review, it would be most welcome.
Madame X Profile PhotoMadame X Profile Photo
Madame X
Broadway Legend
joined:7/13/03
Broadway Legend
joined:
7/13/03
Didn't take much time...just went to the key sites.

Here's the Star-Ledger review:


Star-Ledger
"Some of us have it worse, you know, Dana. Some of us are dating lesbian men. Okay? C'mon."
LionessInWinter
Broadway Star
joined:8/23/05
Broadway Star
joined:
8/23/05
Thanks, Madame X. I just quickly read the print copy in a lobby and left it where I found it (fortunately not in Newark). Macbeth Opening Night Reviews?  (MEGASPOILERS)
nomdeplume
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/20/05
"Whatever, other than looking like the worst-dressed woman in Scotland -- apparently wearing a 1950s prom gown to her coronation -- a slow-talking Jennifer Ehle blankly depicts Lady Macbeth as a complete nonentity. The remaining featured performances are noticeably muted with the loud exception of Florencia Lozano's metallic Lady Macduff."

Michael Sommers, Star-Ledger
LionessInWinter
Broadway Star
joined:8/23/05
Broadway Star
joined:
8/23/05
Updated On: 6/30/06 at 01:24 AM
LionessInWinter
Broadway Star
joined:8/23/05
Broadway Star
joined:
8/23/05
I thought of you, nomdeplume, when I read they called Jennifer "slow-talking".
Maybe she slowed down? Too much?
nomdeplume
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/20/05
Man, it ain't the pace so much as the rhythm.

Fast, slow, if you don't feel that rhythm of the brogue ain't nothin' gonna put it there...
jennite
Understudy
joined:5/6/05
Understudy
joined:
5/6/05
Jennifer Ehle on her interpretation of Lady M: http://www.jenniferehle.blogspot.com/2006/07/brainwashing-works.html

And we also have photos from opening night plus links to every single print, web and blog review we can find: http://jenniferehle.blogspot.com

Quote, counter-quote. From Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal (hard copy only):

"Jennifer Ehle, by contrast, was wonderful from start to finish. Though she is chiefly known in the U.S. as the best of all possible Elizabeths in the BBC's "Pride and Prejudice" miniseries, Ms. Ehle's theatrical quiver contains other equally sharp arrows, and her Lady Macbeth -- now venomous, now terror-stricken -- is worth standing in line to see."

As said before in this thread, I am a Jennifer Ehle fan who runs the blog about her (which she has no hand in).
Visit the Jennifer Ehle fan blog, currently obsessively tracking The Coast of Utopia news: press, blog and forum reviews, interviews with cast and crew, photos, Tonys buzz, etc.
nomdeplume
Broadway Legend
joined:6/20/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
6/20/05
Additional and "counter" quotes are welcome.

It's a big event to have Macbeth in the Park and everyone should pay attention to the production!

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