The Words of our Work-In-Progress Audience

For those that would have preferred a public post-show discussion, and for those that enjoyed the anonymity of feedback cards. For those that missed it and are nosy enough to want to know ‘what went down’, and for those who saw it and care enough to want to know the range of other’s opinions.

We collected exactly 60 feedback cards.

Firstly, for fun, we made a word cloud (the bigger a word, the more it showed up in the feedback).

Then we got more serious. Here we have grouped together the main themes that came up. There was other feedback not featured here – on everything from where to buy wine, how to sell our designer (not his designs but the man himself!), and personal messages to members of the team. We’ve avoided copying out near identical points. We have left out feedback strands about the structure of the night itself. That’s not to belittle any of that feedback, though. It’s simply logged somewhere else. Every opinion, compliment or criticism has been read, re-read and discussed. And how glad we are that you were all candid and honest!

So, without further ado, may I present to you:

The Words of our Work-in-Progress Audience

(I hasten to add the work was ‘work-in-progress’, not the audience).

Character swapping

(Six actors playing all the characters, all swapping in and out of each part)

Liked the recognition of actors v characters – would like to see this pushed further.

Will actors change performance during the performance in October? If so, why? I liked it in tonight’s showing but wonder what it will say and add?

Will the players be changing roles in the Autumn? I thought this worked actually, and showed how irresistible the emotions/motivations were that drove Macbeth to the act and other characters to their reactions.

What really appealed to me was the group’s capacity to convince me of an idea then drop it (literally) with an item of clothing – lovely poetry there.

Different actors for different character traits?

I liked the fluidity of the cast and of gender, for me it rather created the impression of a group of people being trapped underground and forced to act out a nightmare.

Switching of roles interesting, easy to follow and fresh. Was initially wary but fears about the execution entirely unfounded.

… it does, in my eyes mean that the ROLE of each character within a trajectory must be more interesting than the character itself. So I guess for autumn if that’s what you decide to do, look into that more … why Macbeth?

 

Gender

(Within the rules of swapping characters, all parts are open to all actors – regardless of age or gender)

I’m interested in what you’re doing with gender. There’s load more there though. Why is it that it’s so hard to swap gender in a role? Is that just with Shakespeare? Or everyone? Or is it because of difference in the writing of the genders? I find it so much harder to believe women when they play cross-gender (and men too!) DELVE into that because it gives me sleepless nights!! Is it tradition? Is that all it is?

I liked as well the reverse-gender casting in the two scenes I saw … with Lady M being more of an impish, trickster-like figure engaging the audience rather than another vampish femme fatale, it lent the stabbing of Duncan scene … almost the air of a Medieval morality play like Mankind or something.

Loved the disregard of gender. It’s brave and it does work – throws a lot into question.

 

Space / Lights

(Christopher Wren crypt, with numerous bays. Lighting handmade from tin cans, candles and torches. Some scenes took place in the dark or out of view of sections of the audience.)

The first space with the seats around the edge was really exciting visually. The entrances at either end draw the eye and help the audience engage. The space used for the closing scenes was less effective because the audience is concentrating on being able to see and differentiating the characters in the low light.

Bodies in the space were very structural which was aided by the beautiful quote raw lighting – I loved it! … Liked “hearing” the play when the actors were in the dark.

… on occasion it was hard to follow the action when scenes took place in multiple rooms.

What a site. The creepiness can be used, you pitched it really well. You managed to use the extremes of the space in a vital way. Wonderful appearances and disappearances, questions left looming in my mind.

I would be worried about the space outperforming the show at times. Case in point, porter scene so good, partly because it didn’t depend on the space.

You used the space and all its quirky bits to their full. The brickwork and its decay beautifully deployed. And genius lighting giving atmosphere to die for.

Since most of Macbeth takes place at night or in darkness (I think) you’ve really got the chance to do something really Stygian there, and the sense of depth from those vaults and corridors should really enhance things.

 

Porter

(Replacing the Porter speech with a stand-up storytelling routine)

I will remember the Porter – I want to see that show most of all.

… was a lighter form of entertainment after trying to understand Shakespeare.

Thought the porter sketch where we were all sharing the irritation at the ‘knocker’ interrupting things was great.

Like the mix of Shakes and modern (porter) – it’s the story that’s sacred not the text!!

 

Language

(‘Macbeth’ is written in two types of verse, plus prose)

I love the active play and speaking the text without painting the words shows that the meaning is enough to create a feeling of threat … it was still the cleanest and most present rendition of any of the scenes I’ve ever seen.

Obviously, this was a work in progress, but I think there needs to be a lot more work on the language … Try being even a little less respectful of it, if needs be. You can easily get bogged down in unnatural rhythms.

Sharp sense of wit from clever actors who made sense of the verse.

 

Sound

(Live sound created by actors on instruments, as opposed to formally structured ‘music’. DVD of rehearsal footage was shown as part of work-in-progress, which featured sections put to music)

Instruments, soundscape of space seems really rich.

… loved the soundscapes.

… in your video found it very moving when music and moments of movement were placed together. Perhaps an idea could be instead to explore bringing live music in to the live performance. Could add to the notion of the performance being about what you’re given and playing with that.

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