Scotland, a long time ago. The war is over. Macbeth and his friend Banquo are returning from the battlefield. They have won. They are filled with adrenaline. Their swords are still wet with blood. The name Macbeth echoes from all directions, the air is buzzing with stories about how easy murder came to him. Macbeth the hero, the killer in the service of his King and fatherland: a great future awaits him at home. Strange creatures predict the kingdom will be his. That will require actions bathed in blood.  Macbeth only needs to listen to the thirst for blood that lives inside him. Encouraged by his wife, he murders his way to absolute power: first the King, then his best friends, then their families including the children. The witches’ prophecy appears to have been fulfilled, at least partially. But the joy of absolute power is missing. Macbeth and his lady are torn apart by feelings of guilt and regret. And the second part of the prophecy will inexorably fulfil itself, as improbable as its terms might be. Abandoned by friends and foes alike, Macbeth can only be liberated from one thing – himself.

Macbeth is Shakespeare’s shortest and bloodiest tragedy. The work that was written between 1603 and 1607 is partly based on the true story of the Scottish King Macbeth (1005–1057), who assumed the throne in 1040 by killing King Duncan I.

Although his deeds strike us as inconceivable and inhuman, the uneasy feeling persists that Macbeth is not simply a monster. Even if he does bathe in blood, Macbeth reflects on his humanity and sees his actions as the expression of a larger idea: a dark idea, but an idea nevertheless. It reminds us that human beings are reflective animals. Macbeth is the person we could be if someone pushed the wrong buttons on us. When we shudder at Macbeth’s crimes, we are shuddering at ourselves.

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Fri.21.01.
premiere
  • Macbeth
  • by William Shakespeare
  • from the English by Angela Schanelec and Jürgen Gosch
  • Director: Johan Simons
  • Premiere: 21.01.2022
Team: