“When shall we three meet again?” asks the man in the Armani style suit (Shakespeare, 1). The time is July 1, 1988 and the place is Los Angeles, California. The opening scene is not three witches around a cauldron, but rather three individuals (gender is not important), with 1980’s style hair and the well-made and well pressed suits that define the corporate sector. The boardroom table is far too big for just three individuals, a direct metaphor for the needs one has versus the ambitions which go far beyond what is needed. The spell which is cast uses corporate buzzwords, although classic phrases such as “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble” will be incorporated (Shakespeare, 1). This is a new version of Macbeth which takes place in more modern times, but the intent is to reinforce Shakespeare’s main themes in the play.Macbeth reveals himself as styled as a Hollywood director, which is a variation of the corporate worker in a suit. He and Banquo are leaving the opening night of their co-produced film, which has received rave reviews. This trio informs Macbeth that Cawdor, the production company that sponsored their movie, will fund his next production, and Macbeth has been chosen to become the King of Hollywood, as the trio has the power to ensure that his next production is a blockbuster. They tell Banquo that his heirs will become even greater than Macbeth. Macbeth and Banquo think that it is a joke and think little of the encounter until Macbeth finds out that Cawdor has put aside a great deal of money to fund his next movie.
Lady Macbeth will be the image of the successful corporate woman, with large shoulder pads and a brightly colored power suit. Lady Macbeth desires to be the wife of the King of Hollywood, and urges Macbeth to hurry things along by killing the acknowledged great filmmaker Duncan before he releases his next blockbuster. Macbeth does this, and news articles and film reviews then name him as the new King of Hollywood, praising his latest movie. Macbeth has a big party, and many of the guests are the “nobility” of film production in Los Angeles as well as the stars of his newest production. Duncan corners Banquo and kills him and one of his sons, as he is afraid that they will displace him. The other son manages to escape. That night Banquo’s ghost visits Duncan, and Duncan’s crazy behavior causes the decision makers at Cawdor and the stars of his new production to reconsider working with him. Duncan visits the trio who first made the prophecy, and they tell a riddle of a strange future, which the audience realizes is YouTube and Netflix. Macbeth decides that this prophecy is impossible, and therefore he feels his title is safe for now. Fast forward two years, and the new production is released. It is a hit, but there are up and coming filmmakers all around him. When one of them tells of the new Internet and a future where California will be the center of a new type of media, Macbeth becomes worried due to the prophecy. He hosts another big party, but this time the aim is to understand these new forces at work that may threaten his title. Lady Macbeth goes crazy from guilt of telling Macbeth to kill Duncan and kills herself. Macbeth is informed just as those he has invited to the party try to stage an intervention regarding Macbeth’s strange behavior. Macbeth becomes enraged and kills them all. Officer Macduff, who was called by one of the guests, witnesses some of this and arrests Macbeth. The final scene takes place in 1999, where Banquo’s living son talks about a concept that sounds a lot like YouTube to young developers, talking about the implications for media that takes the power away from Hollywood.
One of the main themes of Macbeth is the impact of greed and ambition. To reinforce this theme Macbeth has been revised to take place in the corporate sphere during a time where greed and ambition were a great influence in America (Thomson, 497). The play makes the point of the moral difficulties created by great ambitions, and the destruction that this can bring to the lives of those who are greedy to succeed. This aligns well with many of the themes and motifs that are found in films and media about the 1980s in America, as well as many real life scenarios.
Clearly the production metaphor that will drive this concept is “a very corporate Macbeth”. To that end there will also be updating of the language and some of the situations in the play so that it makes sense in the new context. Design elements for this very corporate version of Macbeth will be along the lines of mainstream films about corporate greed, such as the 1987 movie Wall Street, Glengarry Glen Ross and others which focus on this concept. An example of this style can be seen in the film poster for the 1988 movie Working Girl on the next page.
By using the 1980s corporate setting for a new production of Macbeth not only are the themes of the play strengthened, it lends the moral of that play to the interpretation of that time in recent American history. While corporate greed and ambition has been a feature of those who wish to succeed and rise up the corporate ladder, the 1980s was a time when this was questioned through media representations, making it a perfect background for this revision of that Scottish play.