What sights and sounds (and perhaps smells) would you expect the audience to experience in Act IV, Scene 1 of "Macbeth" on stage?Envision Act Four, Scene 1, as it might be performed on a stage.

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appletrees's profile pic

appletrees | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

One could also make an incense blend with various herbs used in witchcraft, like rosemary, mugwort, dragon's blood (which is actually a tree resin), frankincense, mullein, or a hundred others. The resins mixed with the dried herbs create a thick fragrant smoke that would smell much more pleasant than the smell of burning hair or animal feces; but perhaps might seem less authentic. :)

emeraldjde's profile pic

emeraldjde | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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I'm most interested in the smells of this scene...

For accuracy, you'd have to work in burning hair, and burning flesh (of some poor donor's), burning wood, animal feces, body odor from the witches, and so many other horrible things.  By the time the stage crew got done, it should be almost intolerable.   All the while, you'll need the screaming of small animals in the air as they are thrown into the mix.  To truly portray the witches in all of their evil glory, though, I'm thinking you'd need to go even further than the dry ice/fog machine trick on just the stage.  Spray it out into the crowd and make it difficult for the audience to see through it all.  And when the apparitions appear, I'm thinking they should be darker images.  White light to me signifies goodness, and that's not what I, personally, want when I see those witches on stage taunting Macbeth.

Good question.  It'd make for a cool assignment!

danylyshen's profile pic

danylyshen | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

One of the famous witch scenes would be an exciting spectacle indeed. You would have the witches atop a steaming cauldron. There would be sounds of cats screeching periodically, the fire snapping and popping, while the bubbling potion would be gurgling its evil sounds. When the witches each toss their magical items into the cauldron the audience could be disgusted by dripping and steamy body parts. There would be dry ice fogging the stage no doubt and trees, rocks, and other Gothic settings would create an ominous scene.

when Macbeth enters and demands to see the future, each image will appear in a dazzling white light from three blackened sections of the stage. It may be infont of the cauldron front stage left, center, or right; or it might appear behind the actors-that would be the director's decision.

It would be a challenging scene to stage, but it would be very entertaining.

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