Shakespeare's Macbeth has often been described as a ‘winter' play, but in The University of Western Australia's Grads' new production, director Garreth Bradshaw will make Perth's autumn heat work in his favour.
"This is a play about people and situations going rotten very quickly," Bradshaw said. "Heat is also a useful tool in making people feel shut in, confined and uncomfortable. I'll give my audience nowhere to run. They'll be able to see the actors and the actors will be able to see them, and all will be privy to and participants in the horrific acts taking place before their eyes."
A Year 11 text, Macbeth - a haunting tale of lust for power, murder and witchcraft - has such a reputation for being ‘cursed' that some theatre people dare not name it, referring to it instead as ‘The Scottish Play'.
"I think the play's ‘curse' is one of the most elaborate and widespread practical jokes in history, perpetuated by producers all over the world to attract a curious audience," Bradshaw said.
The young director won acclaim for his direction of Bertolt Brecht's Life of Galileo for the WA Youth Theatre Company last year and for The Taming of the Shrew for Upstart Theatre Company. He said a combination of the text, the actors' skill and a ‘moody' score by local musician Jaymes Brown of The Voltaire Twins would achieve his aim of frightening, shocking and moving his audience.
Bradshaw will exploit the potential of UWA's New Fortune Theatre, the southern hemisphere's only replica Elizabethan theatre, and draw inspiration from such masters of modern cinema as Tarantino, Polanski and Hitchcock.
"The chance to perform a tragedy in autumn is fitting. There's a sense of the world dying in the play, only to achieve rebirth with the return of Malcolm, the King of Scotland's eldest son, to the throne," Bradshaw said.