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TOPIC: Macbeth Casting Options

Macbeth Casting Options 4 years 7 months ago #6533

  • William Shakespeare
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The smallest cast is:

9 men, 1 boy/adolescent, 4 women

Men:
Actor 1: Duncan, Old Siward, Old Man, Third Murderer, King
Actor 2: Malcolm, Second Murderer, King
Actor 3: Donalbain, Menteth, Doctor, First Murderer, Lord, King
Actor 4: Macbeth
Actor 5: Banquo, Cathness, Seyton
Actor 6: Macduff, Sergeant, First Apparition, King
Actor 7: Lennox, King
Actor 8: Rosse, King
Actor 9: Angus, English Doctor, Porter, King

Boy: Fleance, Young Siward, Son to Macduff, Second Apparition, Third Apparition, Servant

Women:
Actor 1: Lady Macbeth, King
Actor 2: First Witch, Lady Macduff
Actor 3: Gentlewoman, Second Witch
Actor 4: Third Witch, Messenger

Notes: If the Hecate scenes are included, four more women (for the second set of three witches) are required. That brings the total cast to 9 men, 1 boy/adolescent, and 8 women (only 5 women if the witches are double-cast).

The procession of the Kings represents the succession of Scottish monarchs up to James VI. The previous monarch was Mary Queen of Scots, justifying the use of Lady Macbeth in the procession, as otherwise an extra male is required.

Do you have any casting alternatives?
Last Edit: 4 years 6 months ago by William Shakespeare.
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Re: Macbeth Casting Options 4 years 6 months ago #6569

  • Brad
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I'm not sure I understand your note about the Hecate "scenes" since there is only one scene with this character in it, and it would seem that in order to include this you would only need to cast one more woman (in the role of Hecate) instead of 4 more women as you suggest. Also, to be clear, the top of your post says "Without eliminating any characters" when you've clearly eliminated Hecate from your casting. So the smallest cast, based on your matrix, is actually 9 men, 1 boy, 5 women. Please let me know if there is something I'm missing regarding this. And thank you for this, it's very useful.
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Re: Macbeth Casting Options 4 years 6 months ago #6570

  • Ron Severdia
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HI,

Yes, the three witches in the Hecate scene are not the same as the first three witches. So if you're not eliminating the Hecate scene or any characters or doubling those at the first three witches, you would technically need 4 more women. We've updated the text to be more accurate.
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Re: Macbeth Casting Options 4 years 6 months ago #6571

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What are you basing the idea that the three witches in the Hecate scene are different witches than the three that have been appearing throughout the rest of the play? Hecate in her speech specifically references things the three witches have done previously in the play, and then tells them to do things later in the play which they do. The stage direction doesn't indicate different witches either. I see no indication that there are two sets of witches in the show at all. Please explain where this idea comes from. Thank you.
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Re: Macbeth Casting Options 4 years 6 months ago #6572

  • J. A. Macfarlane
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See 4.1.38: 'Enter Hecat with the other three witches.'

In 3.5, the witches are indeed the same as those from the start of the play. When Hecat arrives at the cauldron scene she brings three other witches with her, presumably for the sake of the song.

The Hecat scenes (3.5 and her song in 4.1) are generally agreed to have been added by Thomas Middleton when he revised the play, for the sake of adding a couple of song-and-dance routines. If one insists on keeping Hecat in (which very few people do, as she doesn't really add much to the show), it's possible to omit the second set of 3 witches and just have the original trio. The second set have no lines; presumably they just provide a full chorus for the music.
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