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Macbeth: The DVD Edition (Folger Shakespeare Library) Paperback – September 8, 2009
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"The explosive and overwhelming effect of a truck bomb...this horrific, riveting Macbeth ought to be seen by as many people as possible." -- Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal
About the Author
Barbara A. Mowat is Director of Research emerita at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Consulting Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly, and author of The Dramaturgy of Shakespeare’s Romances and of essays on Shakespeare’s plays and their editing.
Paul Werstine is Professor of English at the Graduate School and at King’s University College at Western University. He is a general editor of the New Variorum Shakespeare and author of Early Modern Playhouse Manuscripts and the Editing of Shakespeare and of many papers and articles on the printing and editing of Shakespeare’s plays.
Top Customer Reviews
As one might expect, this production provides plenty of illusion and spectacle: witches vanish, air-drawn daggers hover, and by the end of the sleepwalking scene Lady Macbeth is drenched with blood that seems to come from nowhere. The central idea is that the audience sees what Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are seeing. This is a fast-paced, action-driven Macbeth, and I found it an interesting contrast to the dark, minimalist 1979 version with Ian McKellen and Judi Dench, in which nearly everything is left to the imagination. I recommend seeing both; the acting in the McKellen / Dench version is stronger, but I liked the energy, momentum, and inventive staging of the Folger production, and Ian Merrill Peakes is an excellent, unexpectedly sympathetic, Macbeth. He's a soldier, a bit inarticulate (his fumbling for words provides a touch of comedy in the early scenes), and clearly over his head in the tangled web of prophecy and murder in which he finds himself; his "She should have died hereafter" speech, addressed to a frightened, teenaged Seyton, is particularly powerful.Read more ›
In 2008 Teller, of the magician team Penn and Teller, teamed up with director Posner to produce a version of MacBeth that includes the magic and witchcraft that Shakespeare wrote into this bloody murder play. The DVD included with this book (why package it in a slipcase when you can put it in the book? great idea) is the movie of that play's performance. I saw the play live at the Folger. Without the special effects I would say the play was very well acted and thoroughly entertaining. Before going to the performance I was worried that Penn's magic touches would seem hokey or too "Vegas", but the magic was worked into the scenes perfectly and this performance of the play is powerful, surprising, wonderful.
This DVD would be an excellent version to show to high school students or anyone with a beginning interest in Shakespeare. There is comedy, drama, magic, strife, loyalty, betrayal, murder, revenge, and more. Not counting the magic I felt like this was very close to the way the plays were presented in their original playing. With the magic the spell of the play is enhanced. The camera moves about the small Folger Elizabethan style theater and includes the audience at times. The movie part of the play is well done.
The extras on the DVD show the actors in rehearsal, the actors speaking about their roles and their approach to the performance, and Penn describing his long love for the play and how the magic that Shakespeare wove into the play is what Penn is trying to bring forth, which he does very well. I can't understand why this version of the play has not gone on tour.
Having said that, what Macbeth has in abundance is a context for funky staging, including theatrical special effects, and this DVD version of the play partly staged by Teller (of the Penn and Teller magic duo) takes full, giddy advantage of all that opportunity. It really was a masterstroke to let Teller run wild with this material. And the book that accompanies the DVD (or is it the other way around?) is extremely helpful as a reference for understanding the play better.
My favorite moments during the filmed version of the live play came when one of the characters simply breaks out from the stage and begins several minutes of very sharp, very relevant improvisation. Everything about this production is dead on. So if you're a fan of Macbeth already, this will surely represent a fresh telling (Tellering?) of the tale you will find invigorating. And if, like me, not so much--you will at least be able to understand better what so many people see in this tough little Scottish play.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful staging of this Shakespeare classic. Explanatory notes were edifying and very thorough. DVD was so much more than I expected. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Chicagoan
Excellent dvd. Each act is a our 25 minutes so excellent for classroom use. The production is wonderful. Read morePublished 7 months ago by resistant reviewer
You're only place to see Teller's Macbeth, and it is worth seeing. Not only are the stage effects amazing but over all as a play it is wonderful.Published 7 months ago by M. Smith
This is a fast moving and rather swashbuckling and bloody staging of the Scottish play. It isn't as creepy and scary as the Patrick Stewart version currently available - aside:... Read morePublished 11 months ago by D. L. Cillo
This is (as a friend told me recently) the best filmed Shakespeare I've ever seen. It isn't a movie, it's a well-done video of a truly great performance at the Folger. Read morePublished 12 months ago by J Ken Kuzenski
Interesting insights in this production. I don't expect, or even want, stage productions to be movie-like. Read morePublished 14 months ago by gordon sharp
perfect for school, recommended by teachers as a tool to accompany the book.Published 17 months ago by Kimberly
Teller from Penn & Teller fame worked on this play. There are four magic tricks. I thought the play would have more.Published 18 months ago by Lisa Lindel