By William Shakespeare
Directed by Pawel Szkotak
Teatr Biuro Podrozy, Posnan
In Act III sc. 4, in bitter self knowledge, Macbeth saysâ€¦. "I am in blood/Stepped in so far that should I wade no more/Returning were as tedious as go o'er." He has gone too far to turn back.
In the Polish theater's version this idea is acted out, but not spoken - and there's the rub. This Macbeth works magnificently, and then some, as a spectacle about the rise and fall of tyranny, but when you hear "Shakespeare," it's text you think of. Here, text is minimal, an adjunct to the action.
As a disgruntled audience member put it succinctly, "If it had been called Schickelgruber and billed as a spectacular about a tyrant who claws to power and comes to a bad end, it would have been great, but Macbeth it wasn't."
"Schickelgruber" - because the uniforms, the motorcycles, the actors' movements and behavior are very WWII Nazi.
But as a spectacular, this Macbeth is, well, spectacular. The three witches are veiled silent creatures that on their stilts resemble monstrous birds of prey; the tree trunks, each a lit torch, get taken away as the characters they stand for are murdered. Then they return as the ambulatory Dunsinane woods that spell the beginning of the end for Macbeth. A mobile assemblage of metal, netting and doors are the castles and camps where the action takes place and are, in the end, consumed by fire from within.
The actors speak intently what text remains, but their body language speaks as loudly and is superb. Barbara Krasinka's (Lady Macbeth) mad scene truly chills.
Would I see it again? In a heartbeat.