Ajanela.com: What can the audience of this Macbeth expect?

January 30, 2001

João Paulo Seara Cardoso: There is something innocent and simple that I have always felt towards this play: it is exciting. It’s like a football game we do not know who will win.

From the moment the die is cast there is constant tension. From the first scene one feels, through the prophecies of the Three Witches, that something tragic will happen, and the audience is kept in a great suspense until the last scene, until Macbeth’s victory over Macbeth. Something that contemporary theatre is lacking, too worried with the form and less with the narrative; the ambition here is that of exemplary narrative.

Macbeth is a classic, did you make changes in the play? What changes, and how were they made?

The criterion used was the experience of the necessary dramaturgy for the texts to function from a theatrical point of view. After an in-depth reading of the text, of analyses and critiques of the text and of Shakespeare, we tried to make a synthesis. It seems to me that we have reached a contact with Macbeth. Everything that was accessory has been suppressed, we are left with the fundamental thread of action: what drives Macbeth, from beginning to end, in its indomitable force to kill and to conquer power.

What is the reason for this production?

For a long time we didn’t work with a great classic, the last one was António José da Silva about six years ago…

But you performed Müller’s Hamlet-Machine

Yes. But we wanted to work with a contemporary text, in fact it was performed in the year that Heiner Müller died. I have always had the desire to make a classic text, or Greek or a work of Shakespeare, and Macbeth appears in the middle of a cycle. For three years we have begun a search for new ways for marionettes to move, to organize the shows, a more formal research in which there are only a few words. At one point we felt the need to confront ourselves with a text, and that this would become the fundamental dramaturgical element of the performance, but within our own characteristics.

From the vast repertoire of Shakespeare, why Macbeth?

Although I have already performed A Midsummer Night’s Dream, one of Shakespeare’s comedies, I prefer the cycle of great tragedies in which he writes Othello, King Lear, Hamlet, Macbeth; they are plays that go to the bottom of the human condition, and of man as the driving force of history. Macbeth has some fantastic references to the contemporary world, to dictatorships, to hegemonic powers, on the logic that the end justifies the means. After all, there were, there are, and there will always be many Macbeths.

After this Macbeth will there be more Shakespeare, other classic texts?

I do not have the necessary distance to be able to make an evaluation of this work. Right now I’m quite satisfied. This year, in September, there will be the premiere of a show in line with the previous ones, an original creation to explore new forms in the marionette universe and new ways of interacting with the actors; it is a wholly experimental performance. It is a co-production of Teatro de S. João with Porto 2001. And eight of the plays we have staged during the last ten years will also be back on the stage this year.