Which characters would be the easiest to merge together or cut out in order to make Macbeth as an actual play a shorter version?
I'm doing a project for my directing class and so far I have my structure and plot of how I would like to recreate the play, but I want to merge characters together and, if possible, cut some of them out, so I need help figuring which characters would be the most flexible to rearrange and whatnot.
I agree with the above answer as far as Hecate and Donalbain are concerned. Maybe three murderers are unnecessary and the actual murder of Banquo doesn't have to be shown. One murderer could report what happened, as is done in the play.
I also believe that Malcolm could be eliminated. He does not have to be shown discussing with his brother their mutual fears for their lives and their intentions to flee to foreign realms. This is covered in some of the other dialogue. Leaving Malcolm out would strengthen Macduff's role. When the English army reaches Birnam Wood, any officer might order the men to cut down branches. It would be understood that Malcolm fled to England, raised an army, and returned to Scotland with Macduff. Malcolm doesn't actually do much when they reach Dunsinane; it is Macduff who kills Macbeth.
Lady Macduff and her son could be eliminated. Their murders could be reported to Macduff in England, as it is now. Eliminating Lady Macduff and the boy would also eliminate their murderer.
You can cut Hecate out, and merge her role into the three witches, or make of the three witches a goddess of witchcraft as Hecate is portrayed. The murderers that kill Banquo can be cut out, and Macbeth can perform the murder himself. And Donalbain can be cut out completely as he doesnt not play a very important role in Shakespeare's Macbeth.