The Audience in ‘Living with Lady Macbeth’ Essay Sample
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The Audience in ‘Living with Lady Macbeth’ Essay Sample
The use of Narration throughout the fantasy death scene creates an atmosphere amongst the audience. As Lily and Mon discuss the deaths of the 5 girls, their wishes are acted out beside them bringing a much more realistic feel to the whole thing. Watching their imagination’s take flight makes the whole thing both real and unreal, and familiarizes the characters with the audience. It seems to be a very private and secret thought that they are delighting in, yet we can witness it. So although it brings their circumstances to light, makes them seem real, at the same time you know they cannot be. Because the audience is like an intruder really, looking into the minds of Lily and Mon.
The way the two girls discuss it, pupeteering the events and orchestrating it such a way, its like they are no more than children playing with their dolls. The play-write was clever when creating it, the way it goes between their own dialogue and the soliquies of Lady Macbeth, the plays namesake, is very clever. When the scenes start they use the well formatted connective of the play by quoting a part of Macbeth. This part, used throughout, lets the audience know when it changes scene, or simply when it fades in and out of reality.
The first fantasy death scene is that of Suzanne Porter. As soon as the victim is chosen, she walks from the shadows or in another way of putting it, changes from forgotten to present. The staging states that all characters are on stage at all times, but as it is only a few in play, the others stand behind like dead robots waiting to be switched on. This is affective, and as the actress of Suzanne Porter steps from the shadow she is brought most fully to the attention of the audience. Then as the two girls began to cruelly plan the deaths, the poor victim can do nothing but follow. In each scene the girls die as if they are unaware of what is going on around them. The musing cruel voices of the two plays them about.
The interaction between the two girls is also a key part of it. Lily is clearly the leader, and it is almost as if Mon is simply an other part of her trying to play along, which in literal fact would be true.
LILY: … a hapless Suzanne Porter goes innocently….
MON: …to her doom…
LILY: …to her violin lesson.
The girls are playing between themselves, but as Lily leads, Mon is forced to follow joining in as most she can. Tension is built as they plot. On closer inspection you might notice that Lily takes the lead in this, the biggest decisions (certainly in this death scene) are generally made by her. They are playing amongst themselves, and we – the audience – are only witness’s in such a case. Helpless to change anything.
Suzanne’s sentence is severed, and we witness her being thrown backwards into the arms of their henchmen, and left like a broken puppet strewn across the stage. Red confetti is thrown, same as it always is. Left to linger across the body. Another part that builds the tension in the audience is the way the girls move on so swiftly to another death. Hungry for more of their imaginary bloodshed.
In the following scene, it is Lorraine Ferguson’s number up. There is less interaction between the two girls in this case, they share the role more fully and although Lily still makes most of the big decisions, its not as noticeable as it was in the first fantasy death. As they chat and plan and ploy, the feeling of childish glee is projected upon the audience and they find themselves joining in with it. Its awfully easy, the girls set such a fun example. Lorraine has the misfortune to be placed upon her horse and thrown around. The deaths, however, are nothing short of fantastical. And although the audience is witnessing the deaths they can understand that nothing serious will come of it. Mainly because the deaths are so impossible. An axe murder, a girl thrown from a ‘high’ horse onto a carelessly placed spike, a shark attack. Are these really believable methods of murder? Hardly. The fact they are so fantastical keeps them in the unreal state of things, and does not threaten the reality. Red Confetti. Another corpse is strewn across the stage and left abruptly for the next victim.
In the third fantasy death scene, we witness the girls scornfully playing on the third girls family circumstance and behavior. They plan to kill girl number three, Caroline Pritchett, in a freak car accident. Before each scene, the girls seem to set it all in place, planning this one going this way and similar. But also in each case the time the two discuss and plan seems to get smaller. There isn’t too great a need for a narrative voice in this one, for the projected personality and behavior of the girl explains it all.
We witness the girl laughing and gently taunting some of her hired help, giggling as she takes for granted what is around her. And then she is killed, her breaks cut. This situation is considerably less imaginative than the others, not suggesting that it isn’t as interesting at all. Only this is not a shark attack, or a girl landing on a misplaced spike. She is killed in a car accident, a much more understandable death than the others seem to of been. Much more conceivable. Her body is left on the stage, red confetti is thrown, and they move on with the same eager habit to the 4th girl.
In the fourth death scene, there is more interaction between the two leads. Lily and Mon discuss poor little Gail Bentley, they sound much sadder as they discuss it. Its such a trivial little thing to them, such a small and unimportant thing. And although Mon wants to save poor Gail, its Lily’s will that wins in the end. Same as always.
LILY: … Burnham wood is on the move again. No, Mon, She’s got to go.
MON: Sorry, Gail.
LILY: We had to do it.
Lily almost seems to be consoling Mon at this point, as they plan to kill poor Gail. This scene certainly drives though the point of the puppet masters Mon and Lily have become. Because each phrase Lily uses when describing whats going on to Gail, Gail repeats back at them.
LILY: She’s Paralyzed by fear.
GAIL: I’m paralyzed by fear.
LILY: She’s gaining height.
GAIL: I’m gaining height.
This use of narrative is very affective, because it makes the scene much more horrible. Watching as they plan each moment and movement, as if its the dream bubble of some comic or magazine. And they kill Gail, of course it was the only logical way for her to go, a hand gliding accident. Completely believable. Another body is left strewn on the stage, red confetti is thrown.
The fifth and final fantasy death scene is that of Stephanie Boyce. Stephanie Boyce is very much the rival of Lily, but she herself seems not to even consider Lily a contender. And Stephanie is killed in the only way that would befit such a sexy, perfect, and privileged girl. As Monica and Lily speak these lines, however, the audience cannot help but find it just a bit creepy. Its as if its something that Lily has thought about a thousand times before, and the girls themselves seem to relish in their destruction of such a rival. Monica and she seem to of reached their secret, nasty, magnificent peaks as they kill Stephanie.
Shark attack, shown beautifully as they fling another body across the stage.
At the end of these five deaths, the girls stand together and look back across the carnage. Where before it has seemed a little less real by the swift habit they use to move from one death to another, this time they look back, at the bodies left about with their last celebratory confetti thrown. It is then Lily speaks lines straight from Lady Mac again, and this final kind of monologue is excruciatingly expressive to the audience.
And again like so many other times, Mon is only too willing to follow.
LILY: ‘I am one my liege,
Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world
Have so incensed, that I am reckless what
I do, to spite the world.’
MON: Me too, Lil.
This is the finality of the scene and it also leads into the next. Because the clever mixing habit, the quotes of Macbeth that keep this witty play together, not only Finnish’s one but starts the next.