2011: Macbeth

As our first tragedy, Sue Baxter directed the bloody tale of Macbeth against the backdrop of Hatherop Castle. In this, one of the greatest tragedies in the English language, Shakespeare explores the underbelly of power.  In the play we see high passion, vaulting ambition, promises made and broken.  The stakes are always high and the ground is always shifting.  As Macbeth becomes more resolute Lady Macbeth - a driving force at the beginning of the story - declines into insanity.  Macbeth starts as a man with a conscience and that is part of the reason why we are able to engage with him.  As events move on he is trapped by them, driving them on and yet consumed by them, unable to escape as they hurtle to their inevitable conclusion.

However this play is not just about power, ambition and evil.  Shakespeare's understanding and presentation of the whole human-being gives the play its appeal and its completeness.  We can also see and identify with fear, remorse, doubt, tenderness, humour and, above all, humanity.