Scene It: macbeth.slapeloos ... delightfully dark and seductive

February 19, 2015

As I missed out on the opportunity to see the sell-out success that is macbeth.slapeloos at KKNK 2014 it was with great excitement that I headed to the Baxter to go live my theatre dream of experiencing this phenomenon. An experience it was indeed! For days after I walked around chanting to myself “’n Trom! ‘n Trom! Macbeth wat kom!”

In true Marthinus Basson fashion everything has a twist and I am always left wondering “Did I truly get that, or does he mean something else?” His theatre productions are like Hint Hunt Puzzles to me … love the challenge, the rush and the excitement of trying to keep up with the intrigue and drama unfolding in an almost lyrical riddle type of way.

This is Macbeth with a twist … first of all it is in Afrikaans. It is undoubtedly a mammoth task in itself to masterfully translate the Bard’s magic in such an adaption. Afterwards a friend, upon me trying to put words to this epic experience, questioned whether such a translation can result in a “proper” Shakespeare play … don’t you lose something of the meaning in the adaption he wondered? It ended in him quoting random Shakespeare phrases and me testing to see if I could truly put its meaning into Afrikaans words… and (although not to a Basson level) I think could. This being possible because I think that part of the magic of a Bard experience is that the story is always the star, it is just cloaked flowery expressive Shakespearean English… if you want a flowery equivalent you can definitely find that in the expressive language that is Afrikaans!

Set in a battle field scenario (that appears from digital images used to shift from war zone mass executions to individual murder scenes), the star studded cast of Dawid Minnaar, Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Charlton George, Antionette Kellerman, Stian Bam and Jana Cilliers really give you their all in portraying their characters with unwavering conviction and drive. They bring that perfect balance between dark mystery and insane seductive power that you know you should be running away from but you crave the adrenalin rush of the danger it holds.

In a rebel camp style, Basson turns the witches into soldiers and has Antionette Kellerman portraying King Duncan … genius! It all messes with your mind, and you love it!

How then do I describe my experience…

The adaptation was amazingly confusing, the acting/portrayals crazily perfect and the set design mad-hatter logical. I loved it all!

The only thing that was slightly awkward was that I found myself staring at the English subtitles (hanging from the top) every now and then and got ever so slightly hypnotised that I had to mentally and literally shake myself again to focus on the real deal. That could maybe just also a result of me being uber susceptible to distraction.  

You still have until 21 February 2015 to catch macbeth.slapeloos, the most puzzlingly mystifying version of any Shakespeare play I have ever seen. Book at Computicket.


Scene It by Barbara Loots.

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