MAC­BETH

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - THE TAKE - PETER CRAW­LEY

BordGáisEn­er­gyTheatre,Dublin.Ends Jan192.30pm&7.30pm¤25-¤55 bor­dgaisen­er­gythe­atre.ie Some peo­ple are born vil­lains, some have vil­lainy thrust upon them, and then there are a much more select co­hort, who know just how aw­ful the idea of evil re­ally is, and go ahead and choose it any­way. That, roughly, is the tragedy of Mac­beth, one of Shake­speare’s most morally con­flicted yet still rather en­thu­si­as­tic wrong-do­ers. Mac­beth, it is worth re­mem­ber­ing, may come un­der ma­lign in­flu­ence, first by witchly prophe­cies, and soon by his ruth­lessly am­bi­tious worser half, Lady Mac­beth. But he makes his own choice nonethe­less, early and rashly, and with regi­ci­dal blood on his hands must live with the con­se­quences.

To stage it in Bri­tain now, as the Na­tional The­atre in Lon­don did last year, is to in­vite com­par­isons to an­other mo­ment of fate­ful de­ci­sion and aw­ful con­se­quences. The the­atre’s di­rec­tor Ru­fus Norris may set his in­ter­pre­ta­tion in a post-apoca­lyp­tic land­scape, spurred by en­vi­ron­men­tal warn­ings and in­spired by con­tem­po­rary so­ci­eties riven by civil war and in­ter­nal strife. But it doesn’t take a po­lit­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist to imag­ine it all as a pro­jec­tion of Brexit anx­i­eties, where ma­lign in­flu­ences, briskly al­ter­nat­ing rulers and a bit­terly divided coun­try have re­sulted in an­other chaotic upheaval. In re­al­ity, of course, Brexit is closer to a tragi-com­edy, a pa­rade of buf­foon­ery and men­dac­ity. There’s a lit­tle of that in Mac­beth, of course, but far loftier ex­pres­sions, and fi­nally a re­turn to or­der. Even now, Mac­beth has plenty to teach us.

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