I just saw an all female “Macbeth” in the city at Hunter College, and can honestly say that a female Macbeth being a distressed human disaster is the most relatable thing I will probably ever see.
This version of Macbeth, cleverly titled “Mac Beth,” features an all-female cast of school girls reenacting the bard’s play throughout their daily lives. I didn’t know that I needed to see Lady Macbeth throw a bunch of tampons into the air whilst denouncing her femininity, but that was exactly what I needed to see. Water poured down onto the stage as they brewed their potion, getting everybody soaking wet, and I was having fun living vicariously through them as they galavanted in the pouring rain. Overall, the whole play had me wanting to brew some potions, cast some spells, start a few wars, and topple the patriarchy. In other words, it was a quality theatre experience.
The play had been adapted and directed by award-winning playwright and director Erica Schmidt. In Schmidt’s version, the Scottish play has been abridged, excising all fight scenes except one; a bold move seeing as how Macbeth has a reputation for having the highest death count. Despite using the original English, this version flips the script in many ways. Although it is established that no man of woman born can harm Macbeth, and that MacDuff and MacDuff alone fit this description, it ends up being the weird sisters who slice Macbeth up, drown her in a pond, behead her, and then take a selfie with her severed head. The reason for this change was because the school girls in this production were well aware of the fact that they were just acting out the play Macbeth and not legitimately living it. It wasn’t until the end, when the weird sisters took it too far, that they murdered someone for real.
Oddly enough, this sociopathic look at reckless teenage girls, didn’t feel too far-fetched. In recent years, there has been a growing trope in YA films where teenage girls are secretly murderous and their actions are framed as being necessary for surviving adolescence and, above all, high school. Their violent actions come about due to their pent up anger towards a patriarchal society and how they’re not allowed to express their feelings in a constructive way.
While this theme of conniving teenage girls could date back to “The Crucible,” it also can be observed more recently in “Jawbreaker,” “Heathers,” “The Craft,” and “Jennifer’s Body.” These films fit the stereotype that men are violent just for the sake of being violent, whereas women are more methodical with their cruelty. “Macbeth,” with its lofty assertions about masculinity makes it the perfect choice for an all-female cast to deconstruct attitudes towards women. I wholeheartedly approve of aggressively feminine works of art.
The Tragic Queen,