“This castle hath a pleasant seat”

How important is it that this play is set in ancient Scotland? Some directors choose to set the play in a different place or time, for various reasons. These have included:

  • Japan
  • 1950’s gangster America
  • Modern Glasgow, Scotland
  • The battlefield of World War I
  • A high-end restaurant

1) Make a list of all the mentions you can find in the text of Scotland, or of things that seem particularly Scottish.

2) The real Macbeth lived in the eleventh century. Research medieval Scotland and list the key facts you can find. How did people live? What did men and women do? What was life like for children? How would people have dressed? What did they eat? What armour did they use, and how did they fight? What was the landscape like? Build a picture of what feudal Scotland would have been like.

3) Think of another country, place or time where you could set Macbeth, if you were a director. What would that world look like? How would its people behave? Would anything in the story have to be changed? Think about what you are gaining and what you might lose, with your new setting.

4) Play the designer and determine how you would convey this new setting in a production using:

  • Set
  • Costume
  • Lighting
  • Sound

5) Extension – Create a production poster for your version of Macbeth. How would you convey your new ideas and setting in the poster? Present your poster to you class, and make a case for why this is a great setting for the play. You could divide into those who decided it needed to be kept in Scotland, and those who want to experiment with putting it elsewhere, and have a debate about the strengths and weaknesses of each.

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