I keep promising to give you my take on Macbeth. I want to talk about my take on the script and what Macbeth represents, then I'll talk about the scenic design. It might seem like this is obvious, but it's very important to tie the script into the scenic design in a thematic way. Obviously there is a whole vision for the show, but there should be some sense of the meaning of the story in the setting.
So what is Macbeth about? I've got to take it for given here that you've read/seen/have some idea of what the play is about. If you don't, you really should sit down with it and read it here: http://www.bartleby.com/70/index41.html Basically, this brilliant general and his best friend run into some creepy witches on the way home from a war. The witches tell Macbeth that he'll be king and then tell his friend, Banquo, that he will not be king, but that his children will be kings. Now, you have to understand that all of these nobles are pretty much somewhere in line to be king. Mac's crazy wife then pushes him to murder the king, which he does. Macbeth becomes crazier and more paranoid and eventually starts killing off all of the other nobles and their families and children, including the murder of his friend Banquo. The remainder of the story describe's Macbeth's fall.
Macbeth begins the story as a hero, lauded by his king and beloved by his men. Because of the prophecy, however, he falls ever further into evil and egotism. The promise of invincibility proves to be too much of a lure for even a heroic and moral man. But it should be clear that this story is about degeneration, from a state of good into a state of evil. It is also the story of a man in conflict within himself. Many scholars consider Lady Macbeth to be a representative of another aspect of Macbeth's personality. In the beginning she is mystical and evil, invoking dark magics. Later, however she becomes consumed with guilt over the king's murder. At the same time, Macbeth begins as a man of honor, and becomes less remorseful and more willing to do evil as he becomes more and more overwhelmed by his own invulnerability. In other words, Macbeth is a story in which we can see the conflicted sides of a man as he continually chooses evil over good.
Hmmm...I seem to be running out of time here at work. Okay, so I'll hit up part II, which is my design concept, later on today.