Preparation of a Dramatic Script For Solo Interpretation: the Tragedy of Macbeth

Date of Graduation

Summer 1975


Master of Arts


Theatre and Dance

Committee Chair

Robert Bradley


To achieve growth as a performer in the field of oral interpretation and theatre, the choice was made to present a one-man show of a full length play. There were two objectives in mind. The first one was to develop as a solo performer the power to sustain characterization through the psychological changes resulting from the complexities of the plot, while at the same time maintaining audience interest in a long, involved story. The second objective was to create a program with the flexibility of appealing to a wide cross section of the educational community, both at the university level, where it was presented, and the high school level, where it could be used as an educational tool. The Tragedy of Macbeth was chosen with the thought that it could satisfy both objectives simultaneously. Macbeth is a highly complex story creating numerous demands on the performer. He must master the style--the verse form, the poetic imagery, the rhythm and sound patterns--as well as the portrayal of several diverse characters. It could also meet the appeal of the educational community because of its literary merit. It is a masterpiece studied in both the English and Theatre departments on the college campus and in the high school. In preparing for the performance the study was separated into three catagories: a study of the characters, an analysis of the scenes used, and methods of physicalization. Since the length of the program was limited, the obvious approach was to concentrate on the two major characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, developing the changing aspects of their characters, the growth in power of Macbeth and the decay of the strength of Lady Macbeth. Of the entire play, ten scenes were chosen which would follow this development in the major characters. Although only ten scenes were used, the entire play was studied in analyzing the characters of Macbeth. This was necessary in order to find what effect a scene "not used" had on the characters in a scene that "was used" in performance. In preparing for the actual stage performance many devices were discovered through experimentation and these were employed to actualize the scene through the voice and body of the interpreter.

Subject Categories

Theatre and Performance Studies


© Dane Eric Madsen