By Deborah McAndrew
Produced by Reveal Theatre Company – September 2010
Directed by Robert Marsden
Designed by Mila Sanders
The real Macbeth ruled Scotland successfully for seventeen years, and was certainly not the bloody, ambitious tyrant portrayed in Shakespeare’s masterpiece. Few hard facts are known about him, but enough to imagine a very different story.
Born at the turn of the first Millenium, Macbeth was almost certainly the illegitimate grandson of Malcolm II, King of Alba. His father, The Mormaer of Moray, was killed when Macbeth was just 15 years old – but due to the ancient custom of Tanistry, by which brothers and their offspring inherit land and wealth, Macbeth was left penniless.
With nothing to depend on but his own martial and political skill the young Macbeth emerged as an impressive general, highly valued by the king.
But Malcolm had plans for Alba, and ambitions for Macbeth’s vain and profligate cousin, Duncan; plans that threatened the stability and peace of this burgeoning nation.
Eleven long years after the death of his father Macbeth is finally supported by the king in avenging his murder, and taking back Moray. Macbeth is happy at last, with an intelligent, pious new wife, Gruoch, and an adopted son.
Only then does the king kill the kinsman of Macbeth’s new wife – by tradition the rightful heir to the throne. Faced with the depth of Malcolm and Duncan’s treachery, Macbeth must decide whether he will go on being a pawn in their political game; and what he will do when Duncan inevitably becomes king?
Carefully researched and vividly imagined in verse and prose, King Macbeth seeks to discover the real story behind Scotland’s most famous king.
“Thanks to McAndrew’s powerful script, Macbeth is transformed into a charismatic general… Macbeth, Duncan and Gruoch… historical figures who are every bit as intriguing and complex as Shakespeare’s more well known creations.” Zita Collinson The Sentinel
Production photographs by Andrew Billington