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Macbeth

17 January 2020

Interview with Macbeth director, Douglas Rintoul

We spoke to Douglas Rintoul, director of Macbethto find out more about this epic thriller.

  • What’s your vision for the play?

To destigmatize Shakespeare. So many audience members will be seeing Macbeth or even a Shakespeare, and I think that’s brilliant. It’s so vital that we can make the narrative as accessible as possible, not by dumbing it down but by giving a real clear portrayal of Shakespeare’s language and characterisation. The joy of Shakespeare is that it’s for everyone.

  • Why Macbeth? Why now?

It feels very timely. I’ve never directed Macbeth before but it is my favourite Shakespeare because I’ve always been drawn to that contrast between righteous ethics and political ambition. Macbeth is such a complex character because he is constantly struggling between morality and immorality. And more obviously, it’s a tale of a divided country, which feels very relevant at the moment!

  • You’ve directed Shakespeare’s comedies: As You Like It and Much Ado About Nothing at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch before. Is directing a dark tragedy any different?

The stakes are much higher, so it’s getting into that headspace. This was a society who believed resolutely in Heaven and Hell, so not only does Macbeth kill a king, he does so with the knowledge that he will go to Hell for it.

  • What is your favourite quote/scene from Macbeth?

I love Macbeth’s ‘Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow’ speech. But also Duncan’s speech ‘There’s no art/ to find the mind’s construction in the face’ is so deliciously ironic given that he’s put absolute faith in Macbeth, who is already plotting to overthrow him.

  • Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most performed plays. What makes this production different?

I hope it feels fresh. I want to challenge the idea of ‘who’ can do Shakespeare. Our cast aren’t the ‘usual’ Shakespearean cast. For example, Martin Johnston, who plays Duncan, is a celebrated musical theatre actor but has never done Shakespeare before. I really want to change preconceptions around Shakespeare, and theatre in general.

  • Why should people come and see the play?

It’s the ultimate thriller. It’s terrifying, and makes for a fantastic night out!

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