Once again, for just one evening last week, The Little Theatre in Colne became the platform for an historical debate through theatrical musings.
But the evening was more than this, much more. Dean Taylor is a magician through oration; he transported his audience into the world of Macbeth according to the writer, John Cargill Thompson.
Adapted by Dean himself, he bewitched and captivated the audience; truly a Pied Piper - whose tune beguiled children - Dean’s style is both animated and persuasive, humble yet totally unswayed by documented “facts”. And, once again, as in Dickie’s Meadow staged earlier this month, the commentary touched on a general need for audiences to scrutinise more carefully what they hear or witness; perhaps, rather than to take what we read or see in documentary as the whole story, we need to be open to reasons behind what is chosen to be reported, what is selected for our eyes.
One of the most persuasive elements of this production was the reference to the fear element that Shakespeare’s Macbeth throws out to the masses.
In their preparation for Macbeth’s visit, the three witches prepare a brew of such magic, doubling up quantities, increasing its potency: “Double, double toil and trouble”.
Similarly, in reading that Shakespeare play, our own fear is doubled. Dean also presented the double-edged sword that is fear itself – in Macbeth’s time, we were reminded that the feared were either assumed to be witches or given the status of a saint. It is easy to forget the fact that this is often the case today, such is our natural human suspicion - and subjectivity.
We were coaxed to question Shakespeare’s Macbeth with some enquiry, and in turn, rebuff that fear of voicing the play’s title, a superstition which has been present in theatre-land for decades, if not centuries.
The enchantment was two-fold: comedic, yet caustic and soaked in irony. The history of Macbeth himself was but the icing on the cake during Dean’s performance, because the mix of humour, stunning dramatic monologues, and his role as guide to all present is key to the production’s success.
Enveloped in Dean’s dramatic wizardry, we felt warm and fuzzy, secure in his hold as he gently enticed out emotions, yet also enriched with new knowledge - as though we had just been allowed to see through a web of deceit, privileged and wiser for the experience.