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Last night's performance of Makb3th, by pirateutopia, was awesome. Absolutely buzzing with energy, and left my eyes and ears buzzing from the effort of trying to process so many independent streams of data at once: real actors on stage; video footage of actors on three large screens; the entire text of Macbeth scrolling one word at a time on one of those screens; specific quotes from Macbeth appearing on the other two screens; voiceovers of more quotes from Macbeth (distorted, repeated, shouted, whispered); emails appearing on the central screen; text messages to our phones; and a trancey backing track throughout the entire performance.
cjwatson has described the plot, but I want to give an impression of the sheer sensory onslaught, the feeling of being totally immersed in the performance. It was something like listening to a DJ sampling and mixing text and subtext, looping key phrases from both and combining them to create something new; but listening with the music turned up so loud that you can feel it echoing through your bones, creating new resonances which add to the fabric of the whole.
Some clever little touches, too -- e.g. root (the Macbeth character) wore a tartan shirt tied around his waist, giving the impression of standard grungey geek dress but also a hint of a kilt. It's also interesting that none of the action happened entirely offstage as it does in Shakespeare's Macbeth -- Duncan's murder occurs offstage but is shown on the screens (CCTV within the world of the play, and/or a way of showing multiple scenes at once); Roz (the Lady Macbeth character) kills herself onstage (although unnoticed by root, who is too caught up in his own despair and hysteria to heed her). The primary motivation of the denizens of pirateutopia.org may be privacy, but their every action and communication is shown to the audience; and yet they are all hiding things from each other. root gradually locks everybody else out of his room, out of his system, out of his consciousness; but when Merrick comes to kill root, he first has to black out the CCTV ("stars, hide your fires..."?), fighting obfuscation with obfuscation.
What we see in Makb3th -- what is apparent in Shakespeare's play, but made explicit and concrete in this interplay -- is a breakdown of communication, a breakdown of systems. Merrick's final destruction of root's computer keyboard is hardly a victory; it signifies an end to communication. There are no more words: "what's done is done".