Macbeth Commentary Selina Qian

I am Fleance and Bloody Captain in the production of Macbeth. Following are some of my reflections from my experience.

At the beginning, the director, Mark, and the other actors, David (Banquo) and me paraphrased the lines sentence-by-sentence. Then I realized that my relationship toward Banquo was a key clue to my attitudes and tactics for my two lines. The discussion enters at the point that Banquo, a valiant hero, the second best fighter in the world, explains his seemingly vulnerable feelings towards my character. It surely means that Banquo and I are close, and he can trust me with heavy burdens. This sets the close relationship between Banquo and me, and therefore our tone of speaking. I was told by Mark that I am on guard at that time. This fact that I didn’t interpret within the lines from my perspective is frustrating. Because Shakespeare’s language is hard for me to understand, I needed help from Mark and David to understand the storyline before and after my lines. While my scene objective is “to guard around the castle”, I compelled myself to have a stronger need than just walking around. I imagined that there was a soldier who had just reported there were two missing guards, so that I had to be vigilant. In conclusion, the technique I learned from the rehearsal is that I can observe the character’s lines closely sentence-by-sentence. Then I can picture a complete character through my understanding of the context and lines.

Moreover, even when I am not speaking, my existence has meaning by itself. I didn’t realize this until an incident happened. Because I am always waiting for my turn to go on stage, I put my focus on my homework that I brought to the rehearsal. As a result, I couldn’t keep up with the show. This caused a huge problem that I slow down the rehearsal and people had to wait for me. I feel terribly sorry, and promised to focus. Yet, still I couldn’t find the meaning of being on-stage for 10 seconds and then going off-stage, I don’t have the impulse to devote myself completely. But once I started being focused,  I understood that I was necessary for the show. For example: I need to stand by my dad, Banquo, at the dinner, hosted by two different kings, Duncan and Macbeth. My mood is happy in the first dinner, and I am more vigilant at Macbeth’s dinner. This is because I am proud of our  troop’s victory over the Norweyan Lord and the rebel Macdonald; I am also delighted to be introduced to the lords who are my father’s friends, and beginning my social life as a young member of a noble family. But when it comes to Macbeth’s dinner, my father refuses go to the party; Macbeth asks weird questions about our whereabouts. Though I didn’t transmit message to the audience through words, my attitude can help the audience grasp the general idea of the play. Prior to this production, I haven’t experienced the feeling of being a minor role but still important, so this lesson to me is that every one counts. I should hold the same respect toward small and big roles.

Beside Fleance, I am also a bloody captain at the beginning of the show. I fight hard and get injured, then I report to the king about the war. After paraphrasing, I summarized that I share a lot of vivid details which makes the report not succinct; I am honored to meet my king so I speak with the tactic of reverence. I am also extremely proud of my leader Macbeth, who is the hero that led everyone toward victory. Yet I am badly injured and out of breath, so I need to have pauses to show that I’m actually in pain. Using the method from Hagen, I press hard against my wound in the major bleeding core area. I also lean on my helper, Lauren, with most my weight because I can’t use any muscle around my wounds. The harder challenge is that I need to use those lines and specific language to support my feelings and help the audience to understand the play. Yet speaking loudly and articulately are not enough. I need back up stories to pull my angry, hateful feelings toward the “merciless” Macdonald; my aspiration and proud feelings towards Macbeth; my reverence toward the king; and my responsibilities toward my soldiers. I vary my tactics from stating a fact, to attacking the enemy , to intrigue the king,  to share the bad news, and finally to worship Macbeth. I used a story I read and watched on Netflix to embrace those feelings and fill in Macbeth, Macdonald, and the Norweyan Lord more complete. It is so powerful to fill in the background story of every character appeared in my line that I experienced what it is like to have the impulse to say the lines. I truthfully have those feelings when I’m speaking. It was spectacular!

Yet in the second show, the same story didn’t support me as much. I was not as excited as I was during the first show. I tried to use different stories that resembled the first one and encourage myself about the importance of giving every audience an equal chance to see our best performance, and also to support my peer actors. Yet none of these worked. I asked Lidan (Lady Macbeth), who performed better than the first night, what she did to over come this difficulty. She replied that acting is all about brain games: I can always pull energy from my brain, and I should be more imaginative. But I know there is still something missing. The next day, I went into the show with complete different story, equally fitting that intrigued me. Yet, in the green room during warm-ups, I didn’t feel as good as I did for the first show. Only when I saw a black and white portrait of Katherine Eugenia Costa on the wall, did I realize the missing thing. Under her picture, there lies a quote from I hope you dance — “Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance, and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance…” To me it means that if there is a stage for you to perform on, whatever, big or small, grab the chance and don’t fail yourself. It is a love toward the stage that I must do my best, I must cherish the chance. It went quite well my third show.

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