Friday, 12 July 2013

What I did on my week off by Berni ....Part 1

New to this? Check out the First Post

Barburrito - did you
know burrito means "little donkey"?

I am so lucky at picking my time off!
Well, this year at least. :-)

We had a bit of a day out of the sun on Monday - after the Fun Day on Sunday. On Tuesday we got the train up to Manchester late afternoon and enjoyed a burrito at Barburrito at Piccadilly Gardens.

Excitement was mounting, as the time grew near to walk the few minutes  to Ancoats, find Murrays Mills and pick up our tickets for Macbeth, before being guided to the secret location by Festival staff.
Murrays Mills

Map of Macbeth

The entrance to Murrays Mills

This was a huge place owned by the Murray Brothers

We passed Cotton Street and Blossom Street (you can tell this was a cotton mill area) before finding the imposing mill, which has been partly refurbished.

There was quite a queue down the road, but we were soon let in to pick up our tickets - in black envelopes with the name of a clan written above our names. Volunteers told us we had to find someone holding up a sign with our clan name and they would take us to the venue. We sat waiting for the rest of our clan to join us - then we walked dawn the street and round the corner.

There was St Peters Church - a disused (for 50 years!) church that has also been reclaimed as a space for the Halle Orchestra to practice and record. We were let into a dark and gloomy space, hot and smelling of earth and candles.

There were no seats to speak of - we just sat close together on boxes. The place only fit in around 250 people and there wasn't a single space left.

We were all sat at either side of the central aisle and at the alter end there was already a hooded woman lighting hundreds of candles. This went on for around 20 minutes as everyone was brought in and seated. We were on Row C - right at the altar end.

Programme and tickets :-)

Inside the church - as we all arrived.

There was no sign or announcement but suddenly everyone went completely silent in the darkness and this lasted for quite a while until suddenly a battle exploded into the space. Soldiers in kilts and armour and thick woollen cloaks with shields and heavy swords were running and fighting right in front of us and then the rain started and it poured onto the cast as they slid around with the mud under their feet and their swords making sparks in the darkness. It was very close and you could feel the rain and if you were right at the front - the mud and blood. Then Macbeth himself was stood right in front of us, blood running down his face with his hair plastered to his head. And off it went - the whole of Macbeth at an amazing pace. As soon as something had happened at one end of the aisle, there was immediately something else kicking off at the other end. You didn't have time to think! Just got swept along by the unfolding events - as Macbeth himself was.  Where Hamlet is all introspection and dithering about whether to act - this was just the opposite. An opportunity arose and Macbeth and his Lady went for it on the spur of the moment - and lived to regret it as we know.

Lady Macbeth lights the candles
It was really wonderful. Sir Ken's performance was, as always, fantastic - he always makes the words so understandable the way he delivers them. Loved Alex Kingston as Lady Macbeth - it was her at the beginning lighting the all the candles. You could see this was a couple who loved each other and would do anything for each other - even murder.

If you want to see it live - you can go to your local cinema on July20th. They are streaming it world-wide that night. I would definitely recommend it! Have a look here for information: Macbeth at NT Live

At least the cinema will be air-conditioned! We were absolutely sweltering all the way through - it was so hot - then towards the end they have this massive fire at one end - I am very surprised no-one fainted! There was no interval - once you wee in you weren't let out again for two hours!

It was quite an experience - I don't think I'll ever see a Macbeth to beat that one.

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