Macbeth. Dir. Aaron Posner and Teller. Perf. Ian Merrill Peakes. 2009. DVD. Folger Shakespeare Library, 2009.
Having started a Macbeth trend on Bardfilm, I find it difficult to stop, particularly as I have a backlog of Macbeth material almost as large as Birnam Forest.
The dagger speech proves particularly interesting in each new production of Macbeth I encounter. It can be the key to so much of the rest of the production. It can speak to Macbeth's resolve (or the lack thereof), Lady Macbeth's control over Macbeth (or the lack thereof), the production's use of special effects (or the lack thereof), and the skill (or the lack thereof) of the actor playing Macbeth.
One of the Folger Shakespeare Library editions of the text of the play comes with a DVD of the play as directed by Teller. Yes, Teller—of Penn and Teller fame. Teller is the part of the comic duo of magicians who virtually never speaks during their routines.
I don't know whether this special effect is a Pepper's Ghost trick or not—I'm really not qualified to tell a Pepper's Ghost from a Salt's Dik-dik—but the effect is striking. Macbeth, having looked himself over in a huge mirror, sits with his back to it. Soon, a dagger appears in the mirror—but not in the reality the mirror supposedly reflects:
The film is full of interesting and entertaining tricks like that. On the whole, it's a good, solid, dependable production that is quite useful for classroom discussion.
By the way, my copy of the DVD automatically includes Teller's director's commentary, and I'm always sure to turn that off before watching the play.
Links: The Film at IMDB.
Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).
Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2016 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.
The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.