Macbeth, Chichester Festival Theatre

I saw Macbeth at Chichester Festival Theatre on 15 October 2019. It featured John Simm as Macbeth and Dervla Kirman as Lady Macbeth.

The play was enjoyable but for me, the star of the show was the set design and visual effects. The Chichester Festival Theatre stage is called (I believe) a thrust stage; namely, one that thrusts itself into the auditorium. So conventional stage design is a problem. In Macbeth, the problem was solved by having a sliding glass screen dividing the front and back of the stage. It was Very cleverly used.

Images were projected onto the screen as a forest scene.

Photo by Manuel Harlan

Or simulating Macbeth’s subconscious communication with witches.

Photo by Manuel Harlan

Or just a clear transparent screen as a visual metaphor for separation. In this case, allowing two concurrent scenes to be played out.

Photo by Manuel Harlan

I find the last example so interesting. Ever since reading ‘Time and The Conways’ by J.B. Priestly as a kid I have been fascinated by the idea of playing with time. Either as concurrently in Macbeth or sequentially as with Priestly. It’s almost like a visual relay in Barthes terms.

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