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message 1: by Candy (new)

Candy | 1883 comments Mod
Hello Shakespeare's Fan's here at Goodreads!

I have been approached by Simon and Schuster Publishers with a fun offer.

The publishers have offered us a copy of Alan Cummings performance of MacBeth to raffle off to help kick start some media about the release of the CD and audio.

The raffle draw will be JULY Wednesday.

You can see a promotion of the CD with an interview of Alan Cummings here:

To enter the raffle please write a comment here in this topic regarding your impression of what Alan Cummings says...and why you would be interested in winning this raffle.

I will take all names of people who post in this topic and conduct the draw July18th. I will announce the winner of the raffle and then your copy of the CD and audio will be on it's way to you!!!!

I look forward to seeing what people think of the idea of this version of MacBeth with Cummings and why they feel they would like to win a copy of the CD.

message 2: by Candy (new)

Candy | 1883 comments Mod
Hey are you all being shy?

This CD is going to be awesome for a stormy night, a summer camping trip, have a dinner party book club with your friends and play the Cd?

Here is Huffington Post review of the work:

message 3: by Neveen Badr (new)

Neveen Badr (Nevey) | 1 comments I think I am excited for the idea.

message 4: by Asma (last edited Jul 11, 2012 09:54AM) (new)

Asma (wildbirdmom) Alan Cumming recorded an audiobook of Macbeth and played all characters' roles by himself. This version takes place in a mental hospital.

Liked his mentioning the play's themes--gender, women chasing man, and what's a man. His audio performance of "Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow" entirely relied on his disembodied voice to convey the messages and to visualize the setting; whereas a stage performance by Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, and Alan Cumming himself brings facial and body expression and setting backdrop into the performance. Cumming carries the play's message by his character voices. The Scottish accent for MacBeth extended that range.

message 5: by Candy (last edited Jul 11, 2012 11:29AM) (new)

Candy | 1883 comments Mod
All right now we have a ball game!!!

Thanks Nevey and Asmah, I too think this is a fun idea.

The woman who was representing Simon and Schuster was very nice and she sent a lot of messages to me to explain the Cd and was patient while I tried to figure out how to post about the idea. I like it when a launch isnt just business but they promote the art and give away a freebie!

message 6: by Helen (new)

Helen Black (helen67black) | 2 comments this sounds amazingly adventurous and I think he could pull it off! I can't wait!

message 7: by Jon (new)

Jon Sindell | 34 comments Hi Candy, I’m in. Excellent!

The concept of a one-man reading of the play is intriguing. I wonder whether Cummings attempted a straight read-through, to the greatest extent possible, or paused in the studio between major speeches. I think it would be an astonishing feat of mental and emotional gymnastics to swiftly shift from character to character in scenes with heavy dialogue. I wonder whether he pulled it off. Very interesting project.

I appreciate his comment about manhood and gender identity, and that may be one of the virtues of the format. Lady Macbeth: Unsex me now! Fill me from top to toe with the direst cruelty! And her take on her mister: Too full of the milk (womanly allusion) of human kindness. And Lady MacDuff’s dismay over her husband’s flight, leaving the missus and kidlet unprotected (I may have missed something btw, but I’ve never picked up on why he did that).

Btw, if you -- and any of you here -- would like to see the video of a live reading of a short story bringing Macbeth forward to a San Francisco jailhouse in 2012, with a heavy emphasis on the theme of sleep deprivation -- and who wouldn’t? -- please do visit the page at the end of this message and scroll down to “A Man Forbid” --

“Sleep shall neither night nor day
Hang upon his penthouse lid;
He shall live a man forbid”

Find "A Man Forbid" here ...

Thanks Candy!

message 8: by Cathrine (new)

Cathrine Bonham (dolphin18cb) | 3 comments I was most interested to learn that originally Cumming's just wanted to stage a production where actors alternated gender roles, but then it became a one man show. I always find it fascinating how theater is so changeable, where the same page of words can embody so many interpretations that result in almost completely different shows.

After hearing the excerpt of the audio book I was very impressed with Cumming's reading. I have always believed that Shakespeare was meant to be performed not to just be read. And Cumming defiantly gives a performance.

On a side note I wonder if Cumming's reads the stage directions during the live performance? Most likely not, but with it being set in a mental hospital it could work.

message 9: by Candy (new)

Candy | 1883 comments Mod
Yay Helen, Jon and Catherine...and by the way...what amazing perspectives each of you have posted here. I love the idea of saying the stage directions...THAT does sound like something one would hear when encountering a person who is having a psychotic break. (Catherine, not that I've encountered that many people having a psychotic break...but I have a couple)

I will check out the reading Jon thanks! (I am running out door to work...why did we invent work?)

Helen, I think Cummings is brave too. In fact when I sat today and daydreamed about how one would try to do this...Istarted feeling stage fright. I started feeling very queasy.

message 10: by Bryn (last edited Jul 11, 2012 12:56PM) (new)

Bryn Hammond (BrynHammond) | 135 comments I wondered whether Australia is too far to post the prize?

But went to the excerpt and interview: I like his voice, I always like theatre set in mental hospitals, and I like unsexed Shakespeare. -Once I caught part of a Sh. on TV with a woman as one of the English kings, I don't even know which one (I was a teen). It's stuck in my head because she was great and I'd love to track that down. Also I like his accent.

message 11: by scherzo♫ (new)

scherzo♫ (pjreads) | 248 comments Hi Candy, This is exciting. Cumming is amazing in the short clip and audio excerpt. I'll buy a CD if I don't win the raffle. I'm surprised the porter was cut - seems like the comic relief would be essential with all those other characters in one head.

Great quote from John Tiffany in the Huff Post review:
"There's a fearlessness there that means that he's unpredictable. It's also the fearlessness that makes you want to embark on a project like this with him even though it is nuts and even though you are climbing a mountain with no legs," he says. "You know he'll never waiver. He'll never give up."

message 12: by Candy (new)

Candy | 1883 comments Mod
No I don't see why we can't send cd to Australia if you are drawn! Consider yourself entered!

I also realized I can film the draw next Wednesday do you all know it's on the up and up. I'll just film it on my phone and get my husband to do the draw! Then post a link to YouTube announcing the winner. Yay!

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh wow! I just read an article on the show the other day! I can't imagine any other actor pulling this off -- so excited!

message 14: by Gary (new)

Gary | 4 comments I am so wanting this. My bookclub goes to see Shakespeare every summer,and I would love to be able to play this at one of our meetings!!!!!! I am in!

message 15: by MBP (new)

MBP Alan Cumming is a master of interpretation. I remember how he redefined the role of the narrator in Cabaret. I would really like to hear the entire audiobook because, although I have read the Scottish play several times and seen it performed, I am sure that with Cumming reading, I will hear something entirely new in the play that I never heard before. I look forward to hearing what he alone can bring to this classic.

message 16: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 15 comments I heard about this the other day and listened to a sample on Audible. I really like his giving of the stage directions, especially the entrances. Keeping the characters straight is the one thing that makes listening to Shakespeare a bit difficult to me.

message 17: by Candy (last edited Jul 12, 2012 12:29AM) (new)

Candy | 1883 comments Mod
Gee you folks are rocking this!

So he does actually give the stage directions. That's cool!

message 18: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 85 comments So they "insist they've honored the playwright," eh?

Not in my book.

Shakespeare wrote what Shakespeare wrote. He wrote different parts for different actors.

Honoring him means honoring what he wrote and how he wrote it.

Apparently those involved in this production don't have the creativity to write their own play. They have to make money by invoking Shakespeare's name and riding on his popularity. What they've done is sad and pitiful.

I hope I win the raffle so that I can publicly smash the CD in the same vein that Nero Wolfe burned Webster's Third International (the only book burning in history which which I am in total sympathy.)

message 19: by Candy (new)

Candy | 1883 comments Mod
Well, Everyman...thats whats so great about being in a bookclub...sharing and hearing everyone's perspectives and different takes. Wouldn't it be a boring world if everyone made plays the same way or we all felt the same way about everything. Thanks for sharing! Different strokes for different folks!

message 20: by Steve (new)

Steve Evans (SteveEvansofPahiatua) | 44 comments Hi Candy thanks for inviting people to have a listen and take part. I've seen Lear as an inmate in a mental hospital in a production in Glasgow, and it was ok though I got the feeling that it was done to be different as much as for some concrete reason. Having watched the clip and listened to AC I'm not sure it would work with Macbeth for whom insanity is not quite the right idea according to me, so would have to listen to the whole production to see, as the deeply cynical Macbeth of the end does not seem very insane: ..."a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing" is pretty strong stuff, and to ascribe insanity to it diminishes its impact and the character. But perhaps that's me.

Anyway please include me out of the draw - I am sure there are many more deserving people. But when it's released and I see reviews S and S may make a sale...

message 21: by Candy (new)

Candy | 1883 comments Mod
Hi Steve, Great to see you...and all the folks who have posted here.

I think your response and Everymans' are totally appropriate responses to change. New ideas or riffing on classic work can be challenging and it can fall on its face. I get that totally.

I tend to really enjoy re-visits and new ways of looking at classic work, deconstructions, meta literature, and traditional criticism. I kind of like it all. When I love a writer...I tend to become a little obsessed with ANY thing written or talked about them or their works. I've seen As You Like It performed in S and M gear in Stratford Ontario. It was great!

My impression is that the Cumming play takes play as a series of memories acted out by Cumming...but I don't really know if this is the way it is meant.

I believe slightly different than the performance on stage...this audi CD will be closer to an audiobook. I think as an audio version one person reading it will translate rather well and would be a great way to spend an evening and explore the play.

message 22: by Steve (new)

Steve Evans (SteveEvansofPahiatua) | 44 comments Candy wrote: "Hi Steve, Great to see you...and all the folks who have posted here.

I think your response and Everymans' are totally appropriate responses to change. New ideas or riffing on classic work can be..."

Hello Candy thank you for your response. I can see that my comment was not very well articulated as I have given you a wrong impression. I am certainly not against trying out new ways of doing Shakespeare, or indeed any other playwright, it's just that in this case it seems dubious to me. For example, I have seen three versions of Troilus and Cressida - one (at Stratford in the mid-80s) set in the Mexican war of the 1860s (!), one a traditional "Renaissance dress" version in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow in which the men's roles were taken by women and vice versa. The first one seemed a bit limp to me; the second was very good; the third took liberties with the text that many might find abhorrent, yet was easily the best production as a play. All this to say there is nothing wrong with fiddling with the text, but the fiddling has to be appropriate. Obviously not everyone will agree about what is appropriate. For me change for change's sake doesn't cut it, but modern or other dress and other changes can be really good.

Thanks for taking the time to organise this, and to comment.Steve

message 23: by Julia (new)

Julia | 16 comments Please count me in.
Cummings did an interview on npr on 7/10/12, I'd rather see it in person, but since that's not happening, if I'm chosen, I'll listen & mail it on to the next person on the list...

message 24: by ~Sara~ (last edited Jul 12, 2012 09:25PM) (new)

~Sara~ | 4 comments I would really like to see a performance where MacBeth and Lady MacBeth swap roles - I think it would be fantastic! I loved the production of Frankenstein where Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller swapped the roles of the creature and Victor Frankenstein for each night's show. I was fascinated by how the two brought such a different feeling to each performance that it was like watching an entirely new play the second time around. It's interesting to see how the actor's personality shows through and how much you like their characters and feel for them changes with it. I hope Cumming's original idea is eventually realized but this version seems to have it's merits too.

I've listened to several audio books where the narrator did a terrible job of voicing the different characters to the point were half the time I was unsure of who was speaking until halfway through the conversation. By that point whatever they were saying barely made sense and I had to go back and figure out what was going on. If it's that difficult with a book, I can only imagine how difficult it would be with a play but from the clip I listened to, Cumming's seems to give each character a distinct voice and the conversation was easy to follow (even if the "crrreeps" had a little bit too much of a rolled 'r' for me - not a good place for me to be chuckling). I think the whispered stage directions were ingenious and that the insanity angle would work well with this play but I'll have to listen and see. I love change for any sake - whether it works or not just gives you something to discuss (argue/defend/complain about/praise...)! :D

Thank you Candy for bringing this unique rendition of a much loved play to my attention. I've always liked Alan Cumming's acting so am very interested and, win or lose, I will definitely check it out!

message 25: by Candy (new)

Candy | 1883 comments Mod
Oh my god...Sara, I can't get past the idea of Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller in anything let alone together I am madly in love with them both. I am completely loving the BBC Sherlock with Cumberbatch. Awesome!

Your idea of mailing the cd paying it forward is a lovely one.

I am quite fond of audiobooks and have listened to several on long road trips.

Julia, you're in!

Steve, all good. It sure sounds like you've seen some wild productions of Shakespeare. Kind of fun really if one has time and money. I have this fantasy of some kind of constant Shakespeare playhouse with at least four plays going on a month....impossible likely but one could see workshops or experimental or rehearalas...a dream of mine...

message 26: by ~Sara~ (new)

~Sara~ | 4 comments Sherlock is fantastic - I just wish there were more of them! 3 episodes/season is not nearly enough!!!

message 27: by Ray (new)

Ray (Woadwarrior) | 69 comments HI, Candy, please count me in. Cummings' different voice characterizations make it sound easy to follow.

message 28: by V (new)

V (massaglia) | 1 comments This is just great. I'm really excited about listening to his. Cummings is so talented!


message 29: by Candy (new)

Candy | 1883 comments Mod
"And then Cumming’s character, whoever he may be, starts reciting Macbeth, and you have your second shiver: this is not merely Macbeth, this is really a play about a man reciting Macbeth in a locked psychiatric ward where he is the only prisoner. But it is Macbeth at the same time."

An article about Shakespeare here at Daily Beast...

message 30: by Gary (new)

Gary | 4 comments I still hope to win this!!!! for me and my bookclub!

message 31: by Wes (last edited Jul 17, 2012 04:46AM) (new)

Wes Simpson | 1 comments Looking forward to hearing this.

message 32: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne De | 1 comments Well, I love Alan Cumming, always have, always will. He is undaunted by challenges and I am so excited to get this!!!!
thanks Candy!!!!!

message 33: by Pippa (new)

Pippa (Pippa222) | 4 comments I can't get sufficient volume to hear this. :( Don't know if it's my computer or the recording that is incompatible, but... :( sob.

message 34: by Candy (new)

Candy | 1883 comments Mod
Okay...last chance to enter!

I'm just making up chits (or is it chads?) for a draw. I will get my husband to pick a name out of a hat this afternoon. Good luck!!!

message 35: by Candy (new)

Candy | 1883 comments Mod
And the winner is....

Congratulations to the winner. Please send me your mailing info and the Alan Cummings CD will be on it's way to you!

Thanks to everyone here who participated. I thought this raffle brought some fresh energy to our group and it was great to see so many faces!

I hope some of you will have the time and inclination to join us in a group read of The Merry Wives starting here in August!

message 36: by Ray (new)

Ray (Woadwarrior) | 69 comments Candy wrote: "And the winner is....

Congratulations to the winner. Please send me your mailing info and the Alan Cummings CD will be on it's way to ..."

Candy, a televised grand prize drawing! Great idea!

message 37: by Candy (new)

Candy | 1883 comments Mod
Ray, thanks it was a fun thing to do...try to make some suspense ha ha!

And the winner can message me with info so we can send out the prize!

message 38: by Gary (new)

Gary | 4 comments Wow! Deep bows! I so excited. I just sent you an email , Candy, with my address! Thanks so much! The video was cute......

message 39: by Candy (new)

Candy | 1883 comments Mod

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Macbeth (other topics)

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