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(E) Macbett - Great reviews - Come and see them
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  12/6/2004 | Culture And Arts | Unrated
(E) Macbett - Great reviews - Come and see them


Il Dolce Theatre Company and Spirit of Sarajevo
by Eugene Ionesco
Directed by NENO PERVAN
Performing at the
Globe Playhouse
1107 N. Kings Road
(two blocks east from La Cienega on Santa Monica Bd. Next to HUGO'S Café)
West Hollywood
Nov 12- Dec 12
Thr, Fri, Sat 8pm and Sun 7pm
(310) 458-3312
For more information please visit:



November 26, 2004


A bubbling caldron of mayhem in 'Macbett'

Revising a play that is already revisionist is a tricky proposition.
But director Neno Pervan boldly dickers with Eugene Ionesco's
"Macbett" in Il Dolce Theater Company's gratifyingly revisionist
staging at the Globe Playhouse in West Hollywood.

An absurdist take on Shakespeare's "Macbeth," Ionesco's lengthy 1972
play is remarkably faithful to the dramatic arc of its source
material. So too is Pervan's drastically abbreviated version, taken
from Charles Marowitz's translation and presented here by special
permission of Ionesco's daughter.

Pervan's production is Cliffs Notes brief yet in keeping with
Ionesco's absurdist spirit. What results is surprisingly
perspicacious Shakespeare, albeit with a few soap-opera
embellishments, most notably Ionesco's innovative subplot in which
Duncan's disgruntled wife has a steamy affair with Macbett, urges him
on to regicide and subsequently marries him.

A nimble cast, including Pervan himself, keeps the action clean and
streamlined. Hilariously cowardly and self-serving, Pervan's Duncan
is a preening dandy of suitably ridiculous ilk. As Macbett, glowering
Zoran Radanovich hits the right emotional levels but needs to scale
back his leaping, occasionally unmotivated aerobics. In the most
full-fledged performance of the evening, Pamela Clay plays Lady
Duncan/Lady Macbett as a saucy siren on the downhill slope to lunacy
and despair.

Now for a quibble. For some odd reason, Pervan blocks numerous scenes
on the stage floor, beneath the sightlines of a majority of the
audience, which strains and cranes to see glimpses of the prostrate
actors. Surely, a few suitably placed platforms could have raised
this production, not to mention its performers, to new heights.

- F. Kathleen Foley

"Macbett," Globe Playhouse, 1107 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood. 8
p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, 7 p.m. Sundays, 2 and 7 p.m. Dec.
12 only. Ends Dec. 12. $20. (310) 458-3312.
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes.


DECEMBER 3 - 9, 2004
Doomed Couples
Scottish malice, Sicilian malaise
by Steven Mikulan

You know theater has entered its Halloween season when Macbett, Eugene Ionescoís late-career take on the Scottish play, opens in black light with a horror-movie score, and as Shakespeareís Highland hellhound is wordlessly welcomed into existence by only two weird sisters who have emerged from a trapdoor. This eerie prologue, in which Macbett, lifelessly seated on a throne, appears more like the dead Christ in a Deposition painting than the vigorous Thane of Glamis, suggests the territory weíre to cover tonight ó Dark Ages realpolitik dampened by the mists of magic and superstition.

Ionescoís 1972 play is rarely produced professionally (UCLA mounted a technologically elaborate version three years ago) and is not considered one of his more important works. Still, Il Dolce Theater Company and Spirit of Sarajevo are to be complimented for staging this effort at the Globe Playhouse. Director Neno Pervan, editing down Charles Marowitzís translation of the original French, explores the comedy and pretense Ionesco found in Shakespeareís solemn characters, while sometimes reverently quoting from the Bardís original text. In this story, both Macbett (Zoran Radanovich) and his comrade in arms, Banco (Julius Noflin), are made mad with visions of power upon hearing the witchesí prophecies. In fact, everyone involved is either after power or buffoonishly trying to hold on to it. King Duncan (Pervan), seen here as a cowardly bully dressed in a shiny, lime-green Teddy Boy outfit (or is it a zoot suit?), is an obnoxious boor whoís constantly shoving the queen off his throne.

Which leads us to one of Ionescoís additions to the script -ó Lady Duncan (Pamela Clay). She is a cunning, conniving bitch who marries Glamis to become Lady Macbett. Our potential confusion doesnít matter since the two women meld into the same malignant spirit goading Macbett to murder his benefactor and, later, Banco. To Ionesco, Macbettís murder of his king overshadows everything; Lady Mís death, Birnan wood, the concluding swordplay are all afterthoughts to the regicidal theme.

In Macbethís brutality, we can discern a cleaving apart of Shakespeareís more enlightened world, as though in the fossil record of pre-Norman Britain stirs a dream of government that serves a common good, as opposed to mere blood sport. This notion runs elsewhere in popular cultures ó Eisensteinís film Aleksandr Nevsky opens on a brooding landscape whose inhabitants seem nearly primordial, yet ends with Nevskyís appeal to justice and progress. However, in Macbett, the Romanian-born Ionesco, looking back in time past the refinement of constitutions and parliaments, is fascinated with the primitive urges that still lie at the heart of virtually all modern conflicts. Pervan, attuned to this, presents a kingdom uneasily lit with flickering candles and governed by a belief in witches. In a sense, he combines Macbeth with Ceausescu, and Scotland with Transylvania, drawing out of the mad forest of European villainy a narcotic faith in selfish violence.

These themes have a track record: Ron Magidís pulpily political history Dracula Tyrannus played at this same venue in 1988, and indeed when in Bram Stokerís Dracula the Count dismisses modern Continental treaties as "these days of dishonorable peace," he may well be looking nostalgically at Macbethís Scotland and Nevskyís bloodied Russia. The Globe, with its two-tiered set, balcony and Tudor windows, lends itself to demagogic nightmares. None of this is to suggest that Macbett is a gruesome meditation on power politics ó if anything, itís more of a Rocky Horror Show meets Ubu Roi, complete with Ionescoan touches: A grizzled man (Alexander Veadov) sells lemonade from his wheelchair, a little boy (Andrej Pervan) with a butterfly net searches for Macbett. And, for pure nuttiness, Duncan is murdered on Animal Healing Day, an annual holiday on which the king cures the local livestock and pets of their ailments. (A significant change from Ionescoís original scene.)

Director Pervan gets some good performances from his cast, notably Radanovich and Clay, and his production benefits from Slavko Pervanís spartan set that, nevertheless, places a guillotine behind Duncanís chair (talk about your throne of blood), while Mladen Milicevicís cheesy synth-goth score recalls Euro-horror films of the 1970s. In the end, this is a story about a man who murders another for his coat and crown, while forgetting the woman who made his ascent possible. After Macbett meets death, his corpse is carried and caressed by women to the throne with its awaiting blade ó perhaps that is the absurdest touch of all.

MACBETT | By EUGENE IONESCO | Il Dolce Theater Company at the GLOBE PLAYHOUSE, 1107 N. Kings Road, West Hollywood | Through December 12 | (310) 458-3312

Dr. Mladen Milicevic, Professor
Loyola Marymount University
School of Film and Television
Recording Arts Program
One LMU Drive, MC 8230
Los Angeles, CA 90045-2659, USA
tel. (310) 338-4575
FAX (310) 338-3030
Office: Xavier Hall 312
Mladen's web site:
School of Film and Television web site:


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