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Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom! - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom!
Finally managed to send out invitations to my birthday party. If you haven't got one and think you should have, give me a shout -- I kept losing track of my invite list, and I seem to keep getting people's email addresses wrong, so it's much more likely to be a case of "agh, I forgot, please don't hate me" than "You're not coming to my party".

* * *

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".

Current Mood: IW4 everything louder, faster

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Comments
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j4 From: j4 Date: April 17th, 2003 08:59 am (UTC) (Link)
True. It could have been more surround-sound-ish, as well.

And it would have been much cooler if we'd all had individual headups with the text of Macbeth scrolling past right next to our eyes, so we could always see it at the corner of our consciousness.

AND, it would have been EVEN COOLER if we could have had sockets in the backs of our necks so we could actually interface directly with the pirateutopia.org networks. And wander around in VIRTUAL REALITY in long leather trenchcoats which don't really exist but still look damn sexy.

... For a minute there I lost myself.
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: April 17th, 2003 09:11 am (UTC) (Link)
I think this is the point whereat you need to go and play some Rez.

Do you know if there are any plans for them to play outside Cambridge? Their <a href="http://www.pirateutopia.org/macbeth/dates.htm>dates page</a> suggests not, but it's not impossible that it might be out of date and you could know better. On another matter, I am a philistine who is not actually familiar with the original work. Even if I ever could get to a performance, would this damage my understanding and enjoyment of Makb3th to the point where I wouldn't enjoy it? I suppose it might but would appreciate your informed opinion on the same.
j4 From: j4 Date: April 17th, 2003 09:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Mmm, Rez.

No idea if they're playing outside Cambridge -- you could email them and ask, assuming they have a contact address!

I think being aware of Shakespeare's Macbeth definitely helps. You'll pick up more of the references, more of the allusions, if you know the play. Difficult for me to say, really, though, because I can't imagine how it would have felt to see it and not be familiar with Macbeth.

... Mind you, I'm tempted to say that you should just read Macbeth anyway, because it's good! :-)
sion_a From: sion_a Date: April 19th, 2003 09:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Casting the resonance net further afield -- there was a documentary on Channel 5 the other week (which also made it into the news) about an Italian policeman who's re-examined the events surrounding the assassination of Julius Caesar. His conclucion was, basically, that Caesar was falling apart physically and mentally with the combination of epilepsy and age, and couldn't face the loss of control (of his body, of Rome) that this was resulting in. So he knowingly let the plotters arrange and commit his murder as a form of suicide, but ensuring the legacy of the state he had constructed in a way the plain suicide would not permit.

Duncan, falling apart at the seams with drug (ab)use, deliberately feeds root the text of Macbeth....
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