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With reference to the written Macbeth text, to the R.S.C's 1967 production and the Roman Polanskis 1971 film, analyze how successful each production has been in transforming Shakespeare's written text onto the stage/screen.

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Introduction

GCSE Coursework Assignment B With reference to the written Macbeth text, to the R.S.C's 1967 production and the Roman Polanskis 1971 film, analyze how successful each production has been in transforming Shakespeare's written text onto the stage/screen. Throughout Shakespeare's life he wrote and directed many famous and wonderful plays, these include Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and the Twelfth night. The play I will be focusing on will be Macbeth. I will be examining how two different directors, Trevor Nunn and Roman Polanski, have interpreted Shakespeare's written text. Shakespeare conveyed themes and used various other dramatic devices to convey what the characters are feeling and experiencing. Both Trevor Nunn and Roman Polanski interpreted these themes differently and placed different emphasis on each of the many themes, which, resulted in two very different productions of the same play. In Roman Polanski's production of 1971, Jon Finch played Macbeth while Francesca Annis played Lady Macbeth. Polanski's version was a high budget film with a lot of money spent on clothes, props and typically Scottish scenery. In Polanski's film there is no specific emphasis on any one theme but there is evidence of them in this production. This production of Macbeth is very lavish and easier to follow as many of the original lines have been edited or cut out. Also with the aid of scenery, I feel the viewer can get a better sense of what Shakespeare had originally intended. It is also worth mentioning that Polanski had a greater cast for his version. In Trevor Nunn's production of 1976, Ian McKellan played Macbeth and Judi Dench played Lady Macbeth. This production was preformed on stage with fewer props and a lot of emphasis placed on Light and Darkness, which represents good and evil. Trevor Nunn's production had fewer actors and very understated costumes, as it was a low budget production. This version of Macbeth stuck rigidly to the original text and as a result proved slightly harder to follow. ...read more.

Middle

When Macbeth has agreed she allows him to kiss her, and the tone in her voice softens, Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth of her plan and the more she says the closer the two of them get. This I feel works very well as it shows the extent to which Lady Macbeth is in control. The fact that Macbeth hardly gets a say on the matter again emphasizes this. The scene ends in darkness, which is appropriate given what Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have just been discussing. On the whole I think that this production is more effective in translating Shakespeare's written text onto the screen, as it sticks more closely to the text and has a higher standard of acting. Both productions do the scene very well and both did some parts better than the other but overall I fell that Trevor Nunn had the better scene as I believe it was closer to what Shakespeare had originally intended. Nunn's use of light and darkness was excellent in conveying the fight between good and evil in this scene while Polanski`s use of weather and props worked well to show the viewers how actions or thoughts in the play can relate to other unnatural events. Shakespeare had originally intended this scene to show the evil starting to emerge in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, this was done very well in both productions though Ian Mc Kellan and Judi Dench I felt had the stronger partials judging by the original text. The next scene I will be examining is Act III scene 4 (the banquet scene). Once again both producers interpreted this scene very differently and very uniquely. At this stage in the film Macbeth has been crowned king and they are having a banquet to celebrate this. In Roman Polanskis production the scene begins with everyone gathered in the banquet hall watching a bear fight off two dogs in a cage. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also I feel that in Polanski`s version the affect of when Macbeth mentions Banquos name and the ghost appears is lost but is very evident in Nunn's production. The inclusion and exclusion of the ghost is a big difference in the two scenes, and personally I think the ghost should be excluded as it allows us to feel what the noble men are experiencing and in doing so we gain a little more sympathy for Macbeth. In the original text Macbeth is not left in a bad state at the end of the scene but Trevor Nunn decides to leave Macbeth in a way where he cannot talk or think straight. Polanski chose to follow the text more rigidly in this scene and as a result leave Macbeth feeling shaken but not stirred and as a result it is hard for the viewers to see how he is suffering, the original text states that one of the main reasons for his downfall is his state of mind. In conclusion after closely examining the two production of Macbeth I have found that both are exceptional pieces of theatrical and film making genius, both excelling in certain parts of the play. The level of acting in each play was also of a very high standard given the script and plot (as some of Shakspears plays were quite challenging to understand and perform). In my opinion Trevor Nunns production of Macbeth was more successful in translating Shakespeare's original text onto the screen. I think this because he stuck closer to the original text and performed it in such a way that it was better and the messages Shakespeare originally conveyed were clearer and more evident. He did change a few things in the play but I felt they worked very well. In saying so Roman Polanski`s production was also very good. I felt the money was well spent and it was well directed. He did, however, change a lot of the play which worked well, just not as well as Trevor Nunn's approach. ...read more.

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