Solo Shakespeare, Macbeth: Hecate's Poison

William Shakespeare and S Sato

Players Tokyo

Quaker Meeting House

From 05 August 2016 to 20 August 2016

Rating: ****

Review by Catherine Lamm

This interpretation of Macbeth examines the text with a discernable Asian feel. Like Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood, what is most interesting about this interpretation is the differences in the East and West sensibilities: what the Asian experience brings to Shakespeare.

Solo performance actress S Sato moves quickly and easily between the characters. We follow her through physical and verbal changes with a few costume pieces, most notably a patchwork cloak that serves one side as Lady Macbeth and the other as Macbeth. Much like a dancer, she fluidly moves from character to character, never losing us.

What we would observe as one of the Eastern sensibilities is most evident in this Lady Macbeth. Here she is tame, pragmatic, sensible and encouraging. She is not the cunning and ambitious Lady Macbeth that so many of the Western directors and actors delight in. Future Lady Macbeths would find this performance useful.

When the text reaches outside the parameters of the single artist’s grasp, she has added text which is extremely compatible and a table of chess pieces to demonstrate what transpires. She has cut Macbeth to suit her abilities and focus. It is graceful and fluid.

This is a very intelligent and researched production. It is inspired.