A Very Scottish Play
A Very Scottish Play
I have two great loves when it comes to Shakespeare’s plays; my well documented passion for A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream and the ‘Scottish Play, or dare I say it Macbeth.
I think it is because I came across them in my early teens and despite my efforts to ignore them gradually fell on love with both as the years rolled by. In fact I could quote large chunks of Macbeth and less so of MSND. Yet it was in my forties that I came to play parts of them on stage. I was part of an am dram group called the ‘Castle Players’ and one of it’s directors thought it good to do a winter tour of the local villages doing the ‘the best bits’ as it were from Shakespeare’s most well-known plays.
I was lucky enough to do the Dagger scene from Macbeth, the Porter (Knock knock) and Bottom/Pyramus from MSND and with true amateur zeal I fumbled my way through them.
That was twelve years ago and despite going to Stratford upon Avon as part of an Open Stages event organised by the RSC I thought my chance of actually performing in the famous theatre had gone (we played an abridged version of As You Like It in which I played Corrin) when we performed in the park nearby
Somehow I managed to land the part of Snug the Joiner actually playing with the professional actors of the RSC on tour (we were the Rude Mechanicals) and that’s when the curse struck…
The BBC did documentaries on some of the regional amateurs called ‘The Best Bottoms In The Land’. Part of the filming involved the amateur actors in their ‘day job’s and the producer wanted to film me teaching. So as I was on supply at the time arranged with a local secondary school to teach a lesson on Macbeth’s witches…Part of the film shows me explaining the supposed curse and I mention ‘breaking a leg’ in the clip. Want to know what I did in final rehearsals for the MSND? Yup, you guessed it, I broke my left leg (quite badly too) and missed the regional performances in Newcastle upon Tyne. It was touch and go for the final three performances in Stratford, which I managed with a walking stick and soon after returning to Newcastle had a third stay and operation during which the surgeon deliberated amputation!
I survived with two pins, but I did begin to wonder about the curse…