When our granddaughter Silvia was six, the local Shakespeare company toured public libraries, having children enact scenes from Macbeth. As much curious how they’d do it as looking for Saturday morning entertainment, I took Silvia.
The troupe was clever. With some strips of cloth, a broomstick and a pot, they did the three witches with kids enthusiastically adding elements for the brew: Thumbtacks! Eyeballs! Dog poop! A happy boy playing Banquo’s host scampered around an improvised banquet table terrorizing uber-guilty Macbeth. With a few branches and improvised cloaks, they did Burnam Wood creeping up Dunsinane Hill.
Afterwards, as we went out to the car, Silvia wanted “the whole story.” She was an absolute glutton for stories. If I was taking her somewhere, she’d generously offer me “the whole time until we get to the car to think of a story for me.” Fortunately I knew the bones of Macbeth well enough.
So as I put her in the car seat and started off, I went through the witch prophecy, Macbeth’s letter to Lady M, his notion that they let time work its magic and make him king, her counter-proposal that they hurry fate along by offing Duncan and his reluctant agreement.
“Then,” I said, “he had second thoughts, because Duncan was a good king, and a guest, so Macbeth told his wife he didn’t want to kill Duncan. She got angry and called him a coward.”
“So he did it, right?” Silvia demanded from her car seat. “That line gets men every time.”