The Prisoners Dilemma

If it were done when ‘tis done then ‘twere well

It were done quickly.

Thinking fast on my feet, I have to work out where I am. The verse dictates that for me. It starts small and builds to a vast scale before climbing down again at the end.

Sound in places is huge and the space created dramatic.

I must be on the stage on my own to achieve that volume and scale. I need to get a sense of intimacy within it, it’s an internal world being opened and exposed.

My first sense of the line is that Macbeth is simply indecisive, his thoughts turning to the immediate future and the murder of Duncan.

It’s a malcontent and disjointed thought. If and indecision eradicated seconds later with, with when crashing like a verbal cosh.

It needs to be done at speed in case his discomfort and indecision thwart his ambition.

It seems to make sense. The rest of the speech seems to fall into place. It’s not bent out of shape but I notice I am not comfortable with it.

Simply A case of volume. The sense makes me dwell and emphasis if, when. Its got a high lengthened hit at the opening, if is the deciding factor. That’s followed in a flash with an even more forceful when.

When tis done is quite brutal and cold I think. The act of murder has to be no more to Macbeth than sleeping, its not the murder, it’s the potential damage to reputation and above all how that effects his chance to hold power and achieve his ambition.

Small space that is hot cold ugly, everything that drives is bubbling beneath a barley supressed surface.

But its hitting too hard and to loud from the first word. I feel I am losing any sense of intimacy but it does not make any sense to speak it any other way.

I just have to live with the feeling that something is missing and run with what I have got. I can’t see a fast and dirty fix. It’s not the only thing I have to worry about.

I have the whole of the rest of the speech and it must end.

Sooner rather than later. I seem to be off with a bad start but I at least seem to have a powerfull ending.

The observation, that working with the text, the experiance of struggling to hold the moment and do time within it, echo’s and blends with the emotions it contains, is not in this moment particulary reassuring.

I have a bad start and a distinct feeling it may not end well.

I desire the wood of allabair


Sort of cursing and scratching my head at the moment. But I have learned something as I can see history repeating itself.

I am stuck with what to do with this word, ‘the wood of allabair’ how do I get it to make sense and will it unlock the rest of the sentance?

I have two basic moves, I can use observation and comparision. First thing is to listen how I am inflecting it. I can see when I do, that I am trying to give it some sense. I can  also see where I have drawn it from, heavens cherubim, from Macbeth.

I have the sound but not the context, so I chew through the line in Macbeth.

I want to engage directly with the audience at this point, as in the next moment Macbeth is going to disappear from view. Replaced by a discriptive scene he is watching. Its a fast switch. I don’t want the cherubim to be seen but it’s presence must be clearly felt and the moment must be real.

I  want to momentarly create a stillness and intamcy in a very short space of time that hangs in the air and allows everyone in. Using an abstract object to convey the sense that the moment is real and can be reached for and felt within, with no effort.

I don’t want it to produce an image or get slowed down with thought, it just is. Its role is simply to be and to demonstrate that you are here and within this space. Where else could you be?

I have a past with words that when all else fails, can be deployed to move and animate the present.

As long as you are not standing still, the chance to unlock and transform is always possible although it is far from a certain science.

Comparison does not give me a fixed sense of what to do. It gives me an indication of the potential range. Cherubim allows me to start small and in the next second transform to a vast scale.

I desire the wood of allabair and argatbran, between fire and wall.

I get a sense of what the potential range of the space between fire and wall may be by the comparison. It seems to be doing things the other way round, its trying to locate the small within the large. Locating a specific space in the wider scale of things.

The next line “ I desire the three lean boars.” Can I just let them randomly stroll into view and within plain sight without further explanation? Do they occupy and live within the space I have just created?

A very real-time in motion, demonstration of where we are and the nature of the space that we now fully occupy?

I have no idea but its a start. Being perplexed, startled and uncertian of vision. It is certainly contianed within the flames.

If nothing else the idea of a random boar drive- by makes me laugh.

It would seem my desire is for some sort of map that allows me to position the objects I have to use in space and relate them to each other.

I have no idea what the objects may be, but I appear to hold some belief that if I can get a sense of space and how far they may range within it, I can somehow come to terms with them. Perhaps not perfectly but enough to make it hold together give to of being apart of.

The verse is staggering onto its feet with a somewhat unstead and uncertain movement.

Ideal Home

Macbeths Castle


I am not reading and analysing a text I moving through a memory. I first worked with this speech when I was 18. I still remember it word perfectly so it’s clearly come to mind since then or it would have been forgotten. But the basic moves and movement with the text came then, in two to three weeks of intensive work.


The way I look at it has now altered it has a history. I can see how I moved through it and I can see a familiar issue through the eyes of my 18-year-old self.

The first thing I notice is how much information I packed into the first sentence. The rest of the words are soundless by comparison. Not, that they do not say anything, I just don’t have to think about them in the same way.


I appear to have placed all the thought at the start, created a space I can move through. I have the pattern. It seems to hold its form without too much concentration.

The only thing I would have been interested in is how does it sound? How do I move? Being free to concentrate and remember these moves would have come as something of a relief.


I can get the knowing part out of the way and can focus on the important parts. Which is just being in the moment and having a fluid transfer from one moment to the next.

I don’t need to think about being Macbeth, every moment is not packed with some form of existential crisis, being in continual motion.

The relationship with the abstract alters and in some moments objects appear and are just what they seem. They require no further explanation or thought.

They just are.

Nothing about being on a stage that suggests you are in a normal or natural location, things are never as they seem.

Ars Simia Naturae (Art Apes Nature)

The most immediate memory I have of this thing is to remember the initial error of it. The mistake I first made which was quite horrifying at the time.

The whole thing was holding together well, everything seemed in place, the next second as I identify the error everything is crashing to the floor stone dead.

Retrospectively that’s lost it’s sting and seems that it was as it should be. I am learning what I need to know to be able to speak.

Know that I have a distance in time and a history with this thing I also possess what Macbeth desired to hold from the start but could only imagine in a fragmented and altering form.

It is done.

Learning to speak is a slow and painful processes

When I was 18  I rember thinking that I was out of my depth with the text that I did not have the emtional experiance to pull this off. But I would be trying to make the space by trying to grab anything from my own experaince both internaly and by direct observation of life around me. Which is probable why the emotion is still memorable, amplification and directing the experiance into forming the words.

Its just the most direct way of rembering, recreating and getting a shape. Using what you have to hand, playing and altering its form.

When they come to mind they seem to be a part but seprate from the sound. I need to maintian distance its not howling through space fueled on raw emotion.

I don’t have the luxury of being completly absorbed in myself. Low cost option, and as long as it works, does not get in the way, its one less thing to worry about attention can be focused elsewhere.

I don’t want to have to think about any of this when I have to do it. It is going to be entering a hazardious enviroment that can be open one moment and hostile the next. It is in the first moments terrifying and the potential for further horror is an unspoken and unthought ever- present.  The last thing you want to do is stop and think about where you are.

That normally leads to the urge to flee at speed as something has gone wrong.

Scene VII. Macbeths Castle (A Humunculus Argues)

Having a huge problem with description.
If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well
It were done quickly
I can see clearly how I go about inflecting these words, I can also see the history of how I learned to do it and the language I used, its straight forward.
I can simply descripe it as humculus argument, far, near now. Its an entirly private use of language.
At the moment I think I would have to run to about 750 words on the one sentance to translate it. Which is somewhat silly.

I think the only way on is to live with the fact I am going to make a huge mess in the first instance.

Its certainly what I first did with this speech the first time I had to speak it.
But time and ear slitting music at high volumes eventualy resolves all things, I find.