This is an hysterical play that demands a tremendous amount from the cast in terms of timing and physical control. It is a classic story about a group of ladies who attempt to stage Macbeth as their entry for a Drama Competition. The usual series of mishaps occur and the ladies struggle on regardless. As it is meant to be an amateur production, the set and props can be suitably amateurish in appearance which makes it a great deal easier to stage.
One of the characters has a nasty accident on the way to the theatre and has to do the performance in a wheelchair. The cauldron and witches' symbols were cut out of hardboard and done in a cartoon style which suited the resources of the Farndale ladies. Rubber noses added the pre-requisite comic touch.
The assembled forces take a bough from Burnam Wood before marching on to Macbeth's castle. Henry, the hapless stage manager is stuck with a huge plant compared to the others motley collection of grenery. When he comes on last, struggling under the weight of the huge plant pot , the joke works because he is hidden by the bush which is obviously totally unsuitable and out of scale with what has gone before.
The hapless Henry is roped into playing Lady Macbeth when one of the cast fails to arrive. The obvious joke of a man in drag is amplified by the fact that Henry is seriously trying to do a good job and puts himself into the role. The picture is amplified by the fact that the ladies are all playing the male roles and this leads to further visual humour. The "tacky" nature of everything connected to the play is reinforced by the arch which can clearly be seen to be propped up and the background of Scottish highlands which has been painted onto a huge roll of paper and taped to the back wall. The dress has been made using the generic pattern mentioned earlier. See Sales for details.
The scene in which Macbeth faces the ghost of Banquo is a comic masterpiece. Banquo is wheeled in on a tea trolley with a huge white sheet draped over everything. Those underneath cannot see where they are supposed to be pushing and the ensuing chaos is delightful. Note the small touch of the tartan tablecloth!
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