(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
Macbeth as Spoken Word? Why not? Shakespeare would have probably approved. Wikipedia defines Spoken Word as “performance- based poetry that is focused on the aesthetics of wordplay and story telling.”
The six-member Incubator company worked on the text together and the result is deft, lively and proof that Hebrew is as malleable, as flexible as was (and is) English. They’ve mostly left the big soliloquies intact and kept the plot line, but otherwise the cadence and flow of Shakespearean blank verse have given way to Spoken Word’s edgy syncopation, with no loss of power.
The stage is bare, like the “blasted heath,” except for a sectioned black chest in the center that becomes needed objects. The actors make their own sound effects. They wear jeans and hoodies. Lady Macbeth wears a scarlet dress under hers.
This Macbeth is immediate, mostly sharp, and makes very plain that what we are looking at here is the cumulative effect of evil.
Spoken Word depends on delivery, and given that Israeli actors are not taught to use their voice as an instrument, Incubator does pretty well, especially Yiftach Leibowitz, who plays Duncan and gives us a memorable Porter. Director Ullman plays the title role, giving his Macbeth awareness of the evil he deliberately embraces.
Dana Yadlin seems to feel more at home as one of the Weird Sisters (here “boys”) than she does as Lady Macbeth.
Daniel Shapiro is gruffly effective as Banquo and smooth as Ross. Macduff, his son, and Banquo’s boy, Fleance, are in the capable hands of Yosef Albalek. Duncan’s son, Malcolm, is in at the beginning and the end, and Omer Habaron plays him as zestfully as he does the assorted servants, courtiers and murderers in between.
Incubator has accomplished the “what” of this Spoken Word Macbeth. Now it can concentrate more on the “how.”