• Katharine Goodland
  • John O’Connor
Part of the A Directory of Shakespeare in Performance Series book series (DSP)


When a production of “Macbeth” is dedicated to the science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, and even a program note has to be dedicated in somewhat self-seeking and gratuitous “honor of Peter Brook,” the expectations are raised high. But they are very soon cast down by [this] inept and old-fashioned staging of Shakespeare’s play. Robert Brustein, dean of the Yale Drama School, artistic director of its repertory theatre and one of the best living critics, is not a particularly interesting director. His ideas are academic rather than theatrical, and his concepts, even at their most lively, tend to be professorial… The acting of this “Macbeth” was deplorable, and the actors themselves, even though many of them seem in all conscience modestly enough endowed, were not entirely to blame. Mr. Brustein seems to favor the old stagger-and-sputter school of Shakespearean acting, which is unfortunate to say the most… Like a bright and eager undergraduate, Mr. Brustein parades his insights with almost self-conscious pride. The Three Witches, made up like puppets, are shown on a television screen that dominates the setting like a baleful eye. The device is too obvious, not apposite, and not incorporated into the fabric of the play. Mr. Brustein adroitly solves Shakespeare’s puzzling introduction of a Third Murderer, by making him a figure of destiny who saves Fleance, but once again the concept itself is left largely undeveloped. Then again he makes a great fuss of identifying Duncan with the Porter—why? Doubtless he had a good and sufficient scholarly reason for it, but this is theater. With the emphasis placed upon the final daemon-like battle between Macbeth and Macduff, the last encounter does possess a certain dramatic force, and although the idea of playing it in slow-motion is not especially original, it has a validity that some of Mr. Brusteins other armchair theories conspicuously lack… Lee Richardson makes a plain, bluff and dull Macbeth, while Elizabeth Parrish is all too mannered as Lady Macbeth.


Opening Date Artistic Director Stage Floor Tragic Hero Shakespeare Play 
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© Katharine Goodland and John O’Connor 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharine Goodland
  • John O’Connor

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