Films about the rehearsal process rarely have the intensity of TANGO MACBETH. The blood, sweat and tears of the creation process are on full display in this intricate puzzle of a film with its “play, with a documentary within a narrative” framework. During the two hottest weeks of the year, the cast and crew endure 100 degree heat while rehearsing and shooting Macbeth in the 100 year old Plays and Players Theater. An upscale reality television format mixed with surreal black and white interpretations of dramatic action, cause the viewer to rethink their notions of ‘play’, ‘documentary’, ‘casting’ and the filmmaking process. This film is great for lovers of Shakespeare and for people unfamiliar with his work. The multi-ethnic cast and crew create an earthy visceral interpretation of the text, which opens up the work for all audiences.
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.
It’s Shakespeare’s Macbeth for today’s multicultural audiences. It’s a deconstruction of Macbeth with world music, contemporary dance, and cinema verite. The drama of the play intertwines with the drama of the making of the film. It’s a film that is unlike any other interpretation of Macbeth.
Go to https://projeqt.com/tangomacbeth/making-tango-macbeth for more information on the making of the film. Here is a case study about the Tugg screening in Philadelphia at the Ritz 5.
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 (Carlo Campbell) 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 (Veronica Wathome) 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 (Comfort Dassin) is an illegitimate heir to the throne).
Macbeth writes of this prophesy to his wife Lady Macbeth (Alexandra Bailey). 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 (James Tolbert III) 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 (Adrianna Poindexter) and children (Erin Callahan).
In the final scenes Macduff (Brian Anthony Wilson) 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.