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Zulu Macbeth at the Globe theatre, London


  It seemed fitting that now I am back in England I saw a Zulu
version of Macbeth played at the new Globe theatre in London.

The Globe was the name of the theatre in which Shakespeare made
his name, as resident playwright and director, on the south
bank of the Thames. The original site is now partly covered by
the Southwark bridge, so they have rebuilt it, as far as it
can be determined, in the identical style. It has been the
personal project of an American, Sam ----, and is now the
centrepiece of a new arts development south of the City of London.

Umabatha is the name of a Zulu theatre group, who rewrote
Macbeth to better reach their audiences in Zululand. The
names are Zulu names, the witches are Sangomas, the battles
are Zulu style, Shakespeares magic blazes through this
powerful play. Lady Macbeth, with her intrigues, and an
amazing final madness scene that included a haunting
solo death song, was superb. Macbeth, clad in the leopard
skin robes of a traditional Zulu king, and Banquo were
also excellent. The powerful drums, and great festival
dance numbers with Zulu girls singing and dancing, and
Shaka Zulu's incredibly energetic military training
dances, added an indisputable local touch that allowed
an african troupe to claim Shakespeare as their own.

We saw it opening night, and the place was teeming with
Shakespearean actors from the television screen as well
as the London public. We were in the best "seats", standing
in the yard right in front of the stage, at times six
inches from a dying king.

I am spend a little more time with family here, including
a trip to France to see my brother.

A reminder - the rest of my trip can be found at
http://www.wizzy.com/andyr/za/ - and I will see you folks

Cheers,       Andy!
Andy Rabagliati   .   andyr@wizzy.com    .   <URL http://www.wizzy.com/andyr/>