Tony Award winner Alan Cumming in his riveting solo interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragedy.
Star of stage, film and television Alan Cumming delivers a virtuoso performance playing every role in the National Theatre of Scotland’s bold presentation of Shakespeare’s chilling tale of desire, ambition, and the supernatural.
This radical reimagining of one of Shakespeare’s most deeply psychological plays is set in a psychiatric unit in which Cumming is the lone patient. Channeling the story of Macbeth, he is inhabited in turn by each of the characters of the drama, including some of Shakespeare’s most complex and troubled creations.
Cumming’s one-man interpretation of Shakespeare’s Scottish play comes to audio directly from acclaimed limited stage engagements with the National Theatre of Scotland in Glasgow and at New York’s Lincoln Center. Directed for audio by the stage production’s renowned directors, this exclusive studio recording of Cumming’s dazzling solo performance captures the excitement, passion and poetry of a wildly original tour-de-force that is destined to become theatrical legend.
A lush, cautionary tale of a life of vileness and deception or a loving portrait of the aesthetic impulse run rampant? Why not both? After Basil Hallward paints a beautiful, young man's portrait, his subject's frivolous wish that the picture change and he remain the same comes true. Dorian Gray's picture grows aged and corrupt while he continues to appear fresh and innocent. After he kills a young woman, "as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife," Dorian Gray is surprised to find no difference in his vision or surroundings. "The roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds sing just as happily in my garden."
As Hallward tries to make sense of his creation, his epigram-happy friend Lord Henry Wotton encourages Dorian in his sensual quest with any number of Wildean paradoxes, including the delightful "When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy." But despite its many languorous pleasures, The Picture of Dorian Gray is an imperfect work. Compared to the two (voyeuristic) older men, Dorian is a bore, and his search for ever new sensations far less fun than the novel's drawing-room discussions. Even more oddly, the moral message of the novel contradicts many of Wilde's supposed aims, not least "no artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style." Nonetheless, the glamour boy gets his just deserts. And Wilde, defending Dorian Gray, had it both ways: "All excess, as well as all renunciation, brings its own punishment."
Hundreds of bold-color illustrations keep pace with Shakespeare's dialogue in The Illustrated Macbeth, an unexpurgated but easy-to-understand, panel-by-panel look at the classic tragedy of ambition and death. Like the Elizabethan groundlings who stood just inches from the stage at the old globe theatre, readers observe characters and scenes close at hand, immediately making vital, visual connections between actors and actions.
For this new popular format, no one word of text has been edited from the Folio Edition. The European artist Von has worked almost two years painting figures of heroic stance to depict the bloodchilling encounters and haunting soliloquies: Macbeth's prophetic meeting with the Three Sisters, the dark night of Duncan's murder, Lady Macbeth's guilty madness, the moments before the fatal duel with Macduff.