Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The End of Theatre

John Heilpren checks out Macbeth 2000 and tries to explain some of its cinematic references for those not versed in indie cinema.

As the fanciable bald witch rants overhead, an actor appears suddenly as a white rabbit, projected onto a massive video screen. A bunny wabbit is wunning wild. Scholarly research has enabled me to crack its mysterious appearance:

In my opinion, it all goes back to Harvey (1950), but it’s also clear
that Grzegorz Jarzyna is influenced by more recent American pop culture. For example, Richard Kelly’s cult movie Donnie Darko (2001) has a large manipulative bunny who encourages a hallucinating troubled teen to commit crimes. Mr. Jarzyna’s big hero, though, is David Lynch.

The cry of “Silencio!” in Macbeth 2008 is his tribute to
Mulholland Drive. More to the point, Inland Empire (2006), which Mr. Lynch shot mostly in Lódz, Poland, involves a disturbed Polish woman watching a TV sitcom about three rabbit people, which is actually an extract from Mr. Lynch’s lesser-known Rabbits (2002).

So now you know.

The important thing is the giant rabbit in Macbeth 2008 is plain
silliness (unless, that is, you’re a David Lynch fan). Among other movie references: the helicopter sequence and rescue that brings Macbeth’s reign of terror to an end is an inevitably unimpressive mini-version of an action movie such as Black Hawk Down.

It’s cool for avant-garde theater directors to keep borrowing from
movies, I guess. Any old film will do. Mr. Goold’s acclaimed Macbeth tried to duplicate the visual effects of Kubrick movies and cheap slasher flicks. Mr. Jarzyna’s Macbeth 2008 is in the same imitative spirit.

This is the way theater will end—not with a bang, but with a movie
onstage and a video game.


rbonotto said...

"Silencio!" could be an older comment than you know.

When Oscar Levant was asked to score the opera scene in the 1936 film "Charlie Chan at the Opera," he consented, with one condition: He always wanted to hear "Silencio!" in an opera - and he got his wish: you can actually hear it in the film. --Robert B.

Art said...

Hey Robert,

Thanks for the comment. Perhaps you should also leave it for Mr. Heilpren's article.

Thomas Garvey said...

"Silencio!" also closes Jean-Luc Godard's "Contempt." My guess is that's the actual source for the Lynch appropriation.