Every summer Shakespeare in the Park comes through Missoula, but I prefer to see it an hour east in Seeley Lake because there are less people and the setting is just extraordinary. This year’s production was Macbeth, a play I’ve seen many times. In fact, I think it’s the Shakespeare play I’ve seen the most. It’s not my favorite by any means but I think people like to perform it because it’s short and action-packed and not that hard to follow.

Throughout the play a crow, an ominous portent if there ever was one, cawed in the trees, the wildfire smoke hazed the mountains, and the players dressed in post-apocalyptic garb. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were amazing. They exhibited a chemistry I don’t remember seeing in other productions. They kissed and touched and acted like a married couple. It showed a level of intimacy I hadn’t seen before and certainly added a new dimension to the play. When a couple so clearly love each other, what they do is magnified to a new level of dastardliness. It also makes the sundering of their relationship all the more tragic.

In the dramaturgical included in the program, Gretchen E. Minton, Ph.D. states that “everything seems to happen in an instant, without any chance for the characters to reflect upon the consequences of their decisions.” She says that, after the fatal act, Macbeth pushes onward, never looking back. I disagree. I believe he does look back and reflect upon his choices, he just decides to push onward rather than, like Hamlet, pause to contemplate if it was the right choice. On the other hand, Hamlet didn’t have a Lady Macbeth…


 

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