Macbeth @ 4:48
Date: July 2018
Location: VUK Theatre
Format: solo performance
Participants: Aleksandar Dundjerovic, Stephen Simms, Maria Sanchez
The practice-led research in this cycle, titled Macbeth@448, explored adaptations of the dramatic text as a solo performance, allowing the connection between different fragments, forms and experiences though deconstruction and transformation of Shakespeare’s original text. Connecting the solo show adaptation with autobiography in the performance was a central part of the investigation. The characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are played by the same actor – Stephen Simms. Focusing on the relationship between these two main characters and developing events that preceded Lady Macbeth’s suicide was central to the narrative of this cycle.
The cycle#3 combined two projects as references : Vacío (Madrid, 2012), an adaptation of the text 4:48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane as a physical performance using an inflatable structure and the body; and Macbeth Projeto (Cycle#1 and #2, Birmingham, 2017/18) an interdisciplinary solo performance/visual art based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. These two projects were the starting point of the performance Macbeth@448.
The research aims to investigate strategies for mixing visual and performing arts. The research questions are: How can we offer our audiences new experiences combining elements of performance, conceptual and visual arts? How do we define the geographies of performance and live art? What processes and methodologies can we follow in the adaptation of the dramatic text into a multi-sensorial aesthetic performing arts experience? This cycle also offers a new understanding of cross-cultural collaboration that could help other companies globally to engage in the adaptation and migration of classics though multimedia and plural linguistic performances.
This cycle had as a starting point the development of the character of Lady Macbeth. This was achieved through the integration of Macbeth Projeto with performance and visual art project, Vacío (Madrid, 2012), by Maria Sanchez an adaptation of the text 4:48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane as a physical performance using an inflatable structure – a bubble that housed a performer and the performer’s body. The process of bringing a visual element such as the inflatable, which belonged to the language of visual arts, into the performance created a synergy of languages that expanded the visual languages of the project.
Performance and visual art can be presented as two different geographies defined by the language of each artistic media. In the case of conceptual art, it is the space, texture and atmosphere, combined with the atemporality of the artistic piece. In theatre, the moving body of the actor, the dramatic text and the temporal line of the dramatic action define its geography.
In theatre praxis, it is understood that in order to create a character, the actor needs to draw on their personal experiences and, ultimately, the character created will reflect aspects of the actor and their influences. The autobiographical elements of the main actor-author Stephen Simms provided part of the context for the new performance, where a new meta-context was developed on the basis of the existing Macbeth text, Sara Kane 4:48 Psychosis, and Sanskrit Poetry from The Radiance Sutras. The recording was done following Shakespeare’s scrolls, consisting of segments of text and indication of actions
Macbeth@4:48 used solo performance as an interdisciplinary installation in which the narrative is fragmented and presented as a multi-sensorial aesthetic journey, which provides a new performative experience. Different visual elements (inflatable structure, ropes, projections, buckets, toy soldiers, sound scape, karaoke singing ) and the solo – performer are in the space providing the spectator with different narratives emerging from the dramatic text that has mutated into an installation, appropriating performance and visual languages.
Outputs and evaluation:
This research investigates the transformative and mutational character of performance, migrating dramatic text into the field of installation art, where the spectator defines their own narrative in relation to the artistic sensuousness of the experience. Performance and visual art can be presented as two different geographies defined by the language that each artistic media uses. In the case of conceptual art, it is the space, texture and atmosphere, combined with the atemporality of the artistic piece. In theatre, the moving body of the actor, the dramatic text and the temporal line of the dramatic action define its geography. The different artistic forms and media are related to each other within rhizomatic structures (1998, G. Deleuze, F. Guattari). They can be transformed and migrate from one to another following different processes, not just through a linear hierarchical process. The process moved from creative group process based on improvisation and collective dynamics to the combination of popular art forms (stand-up comedy, karaoke and storytelling) to visual and installation arts. The originality of Macbeth@4:48 is in the development of a performance using the aestheticism of visual and performance arts – Vacio (Madrid, 2012) -combined with text-driven solo performance.
Deleuze , G. , & Guattari , F. ( 1987 ). A Thousand Plateaus . Minneapolis : University of
Minnesota Press .