Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The Tragedy of Macbeth

The following piece was written whilst I was on a work placement with Express & Echo, Exeter's local daily paper. It was published by the Echo in June 2011.

FILM FANS are in for a treat this summer, with a new version of Macbeth due to preview at the Phoenix Arts Centre in Exeter on the 30th June.

Devon-based Producer Mike Berenger’s film adaptation of The Tragedy of Macbeth, one of William Shakespeare’s most notorious and bloody tragedies, has been shot entirely in the Austrian Alps. It is described as “a chilling tale of glamorous celebrity and consuming passion, of shared courage and reckless ambition.

“It is the story of two young lovers seduced by their own wild desires, intoxicated by fame, fortune and the irresistible allure of false promises.”

Starring Marek Ovarec and Hannah Taylor Gordon as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, the film promises to show the drama and suspense of Macbeth in all its glory.

Mr Berenger, who founded his own production company, Shakespeare Films, said “We wanted the first screening to be in Exeter because that’s where it all began.

“I was working locally with Greg Browning, the film’s Co-Producer, and we made quite a few films together. The idea for Macbeth was born from visits to the European Shakespeare Days in Murau, Austria. The energy was so great, I wanted to get involved.”

After a year’s organisation, Mr Berenger and his team, including Director Daniel Coll, shot The Tragedy of Macbeth in just 15 days in the winter of 2009.

Despite lengthy planning, filming did not run entirely smoothly. Mr Berenger added “We were shooting in sub-zero temperatures which often reached -15 degrees and the schedule was very tight. Our team of 48 people from all over Europe made sure we got everything done.”

Mr Berenger, who is now living in Whimple, near Ottery St. Mary, finished post-production on The Tragedy of Macbeth in January. At its Phoenix debut, the film aims to attract audiences from across the Exeter area with its fresh take on a classic play.

“The film was born in the area and offers a new way of looking at Shakespeare” said Mr Berenger. “It’s twilight-esque and captures the essence of love being all-consuming.”

“This is an completely new way of enjoying Shakespeare’s work and we hope that viewers of all ages find it entertaining. It is also designed to engage children and definitely has an educational value. By holding on to the original language and the structure of the story, but retaining the gripping drama of the play, we hope that youngsters find it accessible.”

The film’s soundtrack is composed by Simon Lloyd and Sam Clark, two musicians in their early twenties, which gives some indication of the vibrancy and innovation which can be expected from this adaptation.

Tickets for the Preview Screening of The Tragedy of Macbeth, including a Q&A with the producers, can be purchased by going to www.exeterphoenix.org.uk and cost £5.50 (£4.50).

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