So I mentioned that this was week was particular of fun events. After Wednesday’s activities, and going out for a nice dinner with the other Americans and some friends on Thursday for a mini-Thanksgiving celebration, on Friday I went with some friends to the ballet, to see “Macbeth.”
I didn’t really know anything about this particular ballet at all going into it, so it was a bit of a surprise. I’ve since googled it and I will tell you that it was originally choreographed in 1980 by Vladimir Vasiliev to the score (can you say that about a ballet?) by Kirill Molchanov (who was also the composer of the music for the Soviet film “The Dawns Here are Quiet”). I always enjoy ballet, probably because of the 15 years or so that I danced, but this one was a little off for me – not classical, but not quite modern. The choreography was a bit repetitive, but what bothered me more was how far the story in the ballet strayed from Shakespeare’s version…especially the portrayal of Lady Macbeth. Whereas in Shakespeare she’s a conniving but very confused lady, in the ballet she’s presented as some sort of bloodthirsty seductress. In the ballet, she starts out as the Queen, married to Duncan, and somehow entices Macbeth into an affair and then convinces him to kill Duncan. She danced more with a knife than anyone else.
Apart from that, the other huge change in the plot was that the weird sisters somehow convinced Macbeth to commit suicide! None of the forest-coming-to-the-castle or man-not-of-woman-born stuff, just bam! The ending came as a bit of a shock to me. It really makes you think about the what-ifs in Shakespeare, though, and I guess a reinterpretation is not always a bad thing. Maybe it’s better if Macbeth is more remorseful and confused and puts himself out of his misery.
The one part of the production that I absolutely loved was the weird sisters/witches/whatever you want to call them. Their choreography was the most interesting, the three dancers were really together and in sync, and their costumes were visually just great. They all had really heavy skull makeup on, so it looked like they were wearing masks, but they were also wearing skull-masks on the back of their heads, which led to some really interesting moments in the choreography.
Anyways I’m really glad I got to go, because it was different than what I had expected and of course interesting. Maybe I should try something a little more standard next time, or be more prepared. There will be a next time though.