Macbeth- deconstructed- Tango Macbeth is a visceral, fluid, energetic re-imagining of this classic tragedy for a 21st Century multicultural world.
Synopsis of the film: A theater company rehearses Macbeth. A documentary film crew follows them during the rehearsal process. Occasionally the actors become lost in Shakespeare’s world. This blend of intense drama, dance and humor is a refreshing take on Shakespeare’s classic text.
Shakespeare’s Macbeth was originally set in 11th Century Scotland at a time of great upheaval. Duncan’s army has just defeated the Norwegians, and General Macbeth has received a new title and lands in acknowledgment of his victories on the war field. But the Witches have told Macbeth and his co-commander Banquo that one day Macbeth will be king, and Banquo will be mother to a line of Kings (unknown to most, Banquo had an affair with Duncan and her son Fleance is an illegitimate heir to the throne).
Macbeth writes of this prophesy to his wife Lady Macbeth. She is thrilled at the news and plots a way to gain the throne sooner as opposed to later- by any means necessary.
Eventually the Macbeths kill King Duncan and anyone who stands in their way. Macbeth even goes so far as to have his friend Banquo murdered. At the first major social affair where the Macbeths are King and Queen, Banquo’s Ghost comes to dinner and haunts Macbeth. But Macbeth remains resolute and continues to have friends and families killed to solidify his position on the throne. But the killing takes a toll on Lady Macbeth, who goes mad and eventually commits suicide after she learns of the slaughter of Macduff’s wife and children.
In the final scenes Macduff vows revenge for the destruction of his family and attacks the Macbeth estate.
The idea of a tango dance, with multiple partners, each coupling has it’s own intensity and power dynamics. The word tango comes from the Congo in central Africa and means drum circle. A place where people in the community are invited to dance and share. We use the word tango in this literal sense. The film audience is invited into a space to experience and share. The music is very percussive, keeping in line with the traditional African drum music used in tango circles.
Our version of Macbeth differs from Shakespeare’s in the following manner:
a) Banquo is played as a woman
b) Teenage boy parts, such as Fleance, are played by women
c) The cast comes from various cultural backgrounds
d) The drama of the play intersects with the drama of making the film
e) We reference various cultures in the music, set design, costume, and shooting style of the film.
f) The center of the story is the family drama of the Macbeths and the Macduffs.
g) We start the film in the middle of the play where Macduff discovers the King has been murdered.