"One-Act: "The Clowns' Macbeth"

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Anthoney, Wayne, "The Clowns' Macbeth,"

a 60-minute comedy using a general purpose demountable set with three entrances,

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© 1996 by Wayne Anthoney, script available from The Dramatic Exchange, rights (fees negotiable) available from Wayne Anthoney, c/- Post Office, Cherryville, South Australia 5134, telephone 0011 61 8 390 1407 Australia, e-mail wayneant@baarnie.tafe.sa.edu.au; Anthoney says,

Comment "This G-rated lighthearted clowns' version of Shakespeare's Macbeth is intended for secondary school students who have already studied the original. It is a gross travesty of the real Macbeth, but I am quite certain that Shakespeare would have enjoyed it. It is intended to give students the idea that it is quite all right to be irreverent with The Bard, provided they know what they are doing. The four ratbag, desperate clowns are the self-titled SIR JOHN FEELGOOD, leader of the troupe, PUCK, who aspires to become leader, PUMPKIN, a well-meaning young woman, and FLEABAG, who is very keen but a trifle slow. In the original production, all music and offstage sound effects were provided by the cast, adding to the impression of a hard-up troupe of medieval travelling players. We used guitar, snare drum, clarinet and mandolin onstage, and a variety of percussion instruments, bells, clackers and whistles backstage. This style is recommended, but a keyboard player might be an asset in a school production. All the characters except Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and the occasional messenger wear signs bearing their names in large letters around their necks, so that both the audience and they themselves will remember who they are. In attempting their different roles, the clowns should go for extreme characters, believing that the audience will really think they are different people. They can be old, young, limping, (our Banquo had an American accent), melodramatic, etc. They should also dress differently for each character, using hats, whiskers, etc., that is, be as silly as possible. At the start of the play, the clowns believe they have been booked to perform their tatty cabaret show, not realising that the school is expecting Macbeth.

Dramatis Personae

Sir John [m], Macbeth, Voice Off (Act 5, Sc. 2)

Puck [m], Banquo, Ross, Malcolm, Macduff, Apparitions, Rosencrantz and Gildenstern

Pumpkin [f], Lady Macbeth, Duncan, Messenger

Fleabag [m], Witches, Soldier, Other, Messenger, Porter, Murderers


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