A little Shakespearean sacrilege: Wrestling MacBeth

Picture this: Shakespeare’s MacBeth staged in the style of WWE’s RAW.

I know, you think that’s a ridiculous idea that can’t possibly work. But you’re wrong. Picture the climax of the play, for example:

MacBeth is alone in the ring, mic in hand. He paces back and forth, and then strikes his pose in the centre of the ring.

MACBETH
They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly,
But, bear-like, I must fight the course. What’s he
That was not born of woman? Such a one
Am I to fear, or none.

Young Siward’s theme music plays. He enters, and stands near the entrance.

YOUNG SIWARD
What is thy name?

MACBETH
Thou’lt be afraid to hear it.

YOUNG SIWARD
No; though thou call’st thyself a hotter name
Than any is in hell.

MACBETH
My name’s Macbeth.

YOUNG SIWARD
The devil himself could not pronounce a title
More hateful to mine ear.

MACBETH
No, nor more fearful.

YOUNG SIWARD
Thou liest, abhorred tyrant; with my sword
I’ll prove the lie thou speak’st.

Young Siward runs down the ramp to the ring. He climbs through the ropes, and hurls himself at Macbeth. The match is short, with a couple of good hits by Siward, followed by a volley from Macbeth who ends with his signature move and finishes Siward. Mabeth stands over Young Siward’s broken body.

MACBETH
Thou wast born of woman
But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn,
Brandish’d by man that’s of a woman born.

It looks like its over. But wait. That’s MACDUFF’S theme song! Macduff runs down the ramp, chair in hand, flies into the ring, and hits Macbeth in the back with the chair.

MACDUFF
Turn, hell-hound, turn!

…You get the idea. I’m telling you, it could work. Too bad the budget you’d need to do it would be too much for any theatre company.

But maybe that’s for the best.

As I Like It

Since I’ve been thinking a lot about As You Like it, I’ve been considering the question of “what the play is about”.  And I don’t mean what the plot is.  I mean, what is the play about?

Going through the play, as I have been, it looks to me like banishment to the wilderness is freeing for the exiled characters.  Its striking that once in exile, none of the characters really laments being exiled, except for Touchstone, but he seems to be the one dissenting voice.    Aside from the Clown, everyone seems to be having a great time.  Duke Senior and his followers have “gone native”, and are enjoying themselves, living in a cave and killing their own food and singing songs celebrating their hunting prowess.  They are reveling in the freedom their rustic surroundings provide.

Rosalind experiences even more freedom.  Accepted as a man, she finds that she is able to escape the constraints that society normally places on her.

Even Orlando, who isn’t so much exiled as on the run, doesn’t do too much complaining about his “banishment” once he arrives in Arden.  Rather, his complaint is all about being separated from Rosalind.

What do you think this means?  Do you agree? Disagree?

Of course, while interesting, this does not yet provide me with an answer to what the play is “about”, but its interesting to think about.