Scene/Props For this scene most of the acting should take place on a dark stage, it should be quiet and around the stage should be some darker corners in which parts of Macbeths soliloquy should take place.
Costumes All of the actors should be dressed in their best outfits, the style of the clothing should be from the time of the original Macbeth. The servant though, should be dressed up in older, slightly worn clothes and should overall look a lot scruffier than the other actors.
Lighting Throughout the scene a light (not very bright) should be shining on the actor who is speaking and for the people not speaking you will be able to see them because a dim light will be shining during the whole scene.
Scene Overview During this scene we know to begin with Macbeth meet’s Banquo and Fleance, they discuss why both are out so late and talk about the Witch’s and the Prophecies they have made, following this they leave then the servant exit’s, it is now Macbeth notices the knife and his soliloquy takes place. This is a key scene because it show’s just how badly Macbeth wants to be King and how, once everyone leaves, what happens to Macbeths state of mind and how he starts to change.
Stage Directions This is one of the most important scenes in the play so the actor playing the role of Macbeth should show the audience how Macbeth has changed and what the prophecies have done to him.
When Macbeth and the slave enter the stage they should be walking side by side with the servant holding the torch in front of them. When he first observes Banquo and Fleance he should be smiling. When questioned “who’s there?” he should up to Banquo, greet him, and shout “a friend” he should shake hands with Banquo and nod to Fleance. Following this when Macbeth says “being unprepared, our will became the servant to defect; Which else should free have wrought” he should start walking towards the backdrop and lean against it, when speaking he should raise his voice a little and his body language should show that he is slightly disappointed so he should shrug his shoulders a little but he should, while speaking, be smiling. When Banquo says he dreamed of the 3 witches and say they have shown some truth to Macbeth Macbeth says “I think not of them” which many of us know is a lie, when saying this line Macbeth should be standing next to Banquo right up to his ear, he should sound cheerful and make everyone think the witches are no big deal to him. Macbeths face should also show some signs of confusion but not enough to make Banquo think something is wrong.
When Macbeth says “If you shall cleave to my consent, when ’tis” he should be trying to test Banquo so he should be standing in front of him, he should sound confident and with his hand he should put it over his shoulder. Just before Banquo and Fleance leave Macbeth says “Thanks sir, the like to you” he should pat Banquo on the shoulder and mess Fleance’s hair, he should then escort them off the stage down the stairs and walk up to the slave, when he says “go bid thy mistress, when my drink is ready, She strike upon the bell. Get thee to bed.” He should sound sympathetic but also like he is really trying to get rid of the slave, he should hurry the slave off the stage and then walk to the left corner of the stage. This is when his soliloquy starts so the actor should show how Macbeth has changed. I will be giving the stage directions for Macbeth’s soliloquy up to line 49 on act 2 scene 1.
First of all Macbeth says “Is this a dagger which I see before me” he shouldn’t sound very confused or as if something is wrong with him, he should sound as if he is normally speaking and as if he is fine, it’s sooner on in the soliloquy he should start to “lose it”. When Macbeth says “The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.” He should be trying to grab the imaginary dagger but fail since it isn’t there so he should quickly try the clench it but miss it and stumble and come close to hitting the stage, by now Macbeth should be in the corner of the stage looking around him and thinking something is wrong. After this he say’s “I have thee not, and yet I see thee still” meaning I can’t have the dagger but I can still see it, the actor playing Macbeth should now show how confused and shocked Macbeth is, he should speak louder and sound scared and should be moving around the stage using all the space.
When Macbeth says” Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible…….. from the heat-oppressed brain?” he should sound that he is on the edge, the actor should try to carefully portray what must be going through Macbeths mind and how he is feeling at the time, he must be speaking clearly but not too loud, he must be slowly walking around the stage, using hand gestures to show that he is confused. After this Macbeth says “see thee yet, in form as palpable” meaning he can see it but not touch it, the actor playing the role of Macbeth should now walk off the stage and onto the floor around the audience, he should clutch his head as if in agony and be angry at the same time. Now Macbeth says “As this which now I draw,” the actor should slowly withdraw his dagger and hold it up in front of him, somewhat admiring it, the actor should quickly walk back onto stage and look at the audience.
Now the actor when saying “Thou marshall’st me the way that I was going” should speak more quietly, walk to the centre of the stage, standing uneasily and shaking slightly, following this Macbeth says “And such an instrument I was to use,” the actor when saying this should shout very loudly, raise his dagger in the air and should begin to speak more quickly and louder as if his confidence has increased suddenly, when Macbeth says “Mine eyes are made the fools o’ the other senses, Or else worth all the rest; I see thee still” he should speak quicker and louder and hold the dagger in front of his face looking at himself in the reflection. After this Macbeth says “And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, Which was not so before. There’s no such thing” he should be looking at the blade of the dagger, looking at every single place on it and his voice should lower slightly and he should be speaking more subtle but with an essence of confusion aswell, now the actor playing Macbeth when saying “It is the bloody business which informs Thus to mine eyes” he should start by rubbing his eyes vigorously, following this he should be looking around and show his state of mind isn’t stable and he is on the edge, the actor should speak a lot quieter and slower and let the audience know what has happened.
During the whole scene and the rest of the soliloquy the actor playing the role of Macbeth should realise what it would be like been in Macbeth’s shoes and how they would feel, they would get a better understanding of the play and realise what needs to be changed, the actor should show the audience his emotions clearly and during the production should look at the audience regularly.