Saturday, August 25, 2007

Macbeth on Motorbikes

Back in Edinburgh for another action-packed weekend (I hope), which began yesterday with a meeting with Douglas, who runs a company providing and managing soundtracks - very useful contact to have. I've got his showreel, and he's done the soundtrack for one of the films I'm seeing on Sunday, so I look forward to seeing his work. Then went to see Chris Cooper In Person, which was a great session. He's a very articulate, thoughtful actor who talked about his career, and how he works - his approach to acting, how he likes to work with directors, what he would like to do next. (A comedy - he's actively looking. Says he's had enough of stern fathers and FBI guys). Followed that by seeing "Breach", the story of America's most damaging spy, Robert Hanssen, played by Chris Cooper, with Ryan Phillippe as Eric O'Neil. It's an enjoyably tense film, because although you know the ending at the beginning (Hanssen was caught, and the film opens with a news clip about that), you don't know what happened to O'Neil or anyone else along the way. Both Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe were fabulous, and worked really well together. Writer/director Billy Ray stayed for a Q&A afterwards; one thing he said was that he disagreed with the "film by" credit for a director, and would never take it, partly because as a writer he found it problematic. Besides which, every director knows (he said) that film-making is a collaborative business, so to put "film by" is wrong. William Nicholson and Charlie Fletcher last week were also very anti the possessory credit.

And then for somethign completely different - an outdoor performance in the Old College Quad by Theatr Biuro Podrozy of "Macbeth". I saw their production of Carmen Funebre years ago at Galway Arts Festival, and it remains one of the most stunning, shocking, moving pieces of theatre I've ever seen, so I was looking forward to seeing something else by them. They perform very physical theatre, words cut to a minimum, and its like nothing else you'll ever see. Macbeth opens with men roaring into the arena on motorbikes, there are flame-throwing witches on stilts, bike chases through woods, and lots more flames. If you didn't know the basic story of Macbeth, I think you might be a bit confused (certainly 2 of the people next to me were clueless, and kept asking their friend what was going on), but you don't have to know the story to enjoy the spectacle. I like the way they make the audience do some work - its not all laid out on a plate, easily digestible. This is theatre that makes you think, and thrills and scares you at the same time. Fantastic.

And now I'm going to spend the day seeing as many funny things as possible - its time for a laugh.


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