NARRATOR/MACBETH- Usurping king of Scotland
ROSS- from the television series "Friends"
BANQUO- Macbeth's friend
WITCH 1 and WITCH 2- speak in "witch voices" and snarl
WITCH 3- smiles a lot and says dumb things
STUNT DOUBLE- gets stabbed
(Actors wait at the edges of the stage to make entries and exits as quickly as possible. NARRATOR/MACBETH stands downstage. He will guide and participate in the action. You can tell he's king now, because he wears a Burger King crown with "Burger" crossed out and "Usurper" written over it. A chair is set downstage center. At any time the act is mentioned, the roman numeral is spelled out. This is "Act Eye-Eye-Eye.")
Macbeth! Act III! The Palace at Forres!
Banquo, you're a good friend.
I want you to know I would never sell you out. I would never, in a figurative sense, stab you in the back, nor would I, in a literal sense, hire murderers to stab you in the head and dump your body in a ditch.
Macbeth, you're the greatest.
You'll be back here for the party tonight, right?
Sure thing! And I'll travel alone, at night, leaving myself vulnerable to ambush.
Excellent. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to talk to myself before my appointment with Murderer 1 and Murderer 2.
Banquo would make a much better king than I do. He's brave, wise, and so strong! I can't even be in the same room as him without getting all giggly.
Banquo is too adorable to live.
(Enter MURDERERS 1 and 2.
NARRATOR/MACBETH gathers MURDERERS close to him, makes shushing motion, then pointing motion in the direction Banquo exited, then stabby motions. MURDERERS show their assent, shake hands with NARRATOR/MACBETH, exeunt.
Enter LADY MACBETH, while NARRATOR/MACBETH experiences a return of his stomach ache.)
What's wrong with you?
I still have a sore tummy from eating Duncan's cake. Also, Malcolm or Banquo might kill us at any time.
Stop acting like a pussy.
Let's throw a party!
(Exeunt those nutty Macbeths. Enter MURDERERS 1, 2, 3.)
(to 2) I can't wait to kill Banquo!
Neither can I!
(to 3) Who are you?!
I'm Murderer 3.
Yeah, he's here to kill Banquo with us.
No! Two scenes ago there were only two murderers. Where did you come from?
(MURDERERS freeze as NARRATOR/MACBETH advances.)
Indeed, where did Murderer 3 come from? Apparently, Shakespeare liked using as many characters as he could. Sometimes he would force them in in ways that didn't really make sense. If you look closely, the third murderer spontaneously generates with the same justification as Fabian in Act II of Twelfth Night.
(MURDERERS come to life, NARRATOR/MACBETH retreats.)
Who's this guy? Wouldn't it make sense for his lines to be spoken by a character who has already been introduced or who will serve some other function later in the play?
This guy? Uh . . . No--I just talked to him offstage, and he has a vague backstory which makes him interchangeable with either of us or several other minor characters.
Good enough for me!
(Enter BANQUO to downstage corner.)
C'mon guys, let's go kill people or participate in cross-dressing hijinks, however the tone of the play dictates!
(MURDERERs move toward BANQUO.)
(STUNT DOUBLE runs on, high-fives BANQUO. BANQUO stands back while MURDERERS stab STUNT DOUBLE in the head. STUNT DOUBLE dies.)
MURDERER 1: Away!
(Exeunt MURDERERS. Enter ROSS, PARTYGOERS. The party group stays upstage, while BANQUO tags STUNT DOUBLE, pulls on his ghost hood, sits in the chair downstage center. STUNT DOUBLE tags out and leaves. PARTYGOERS talk/laugh silently as a visual background. MURDERERS may join the group later, if they like.)
This is a great party. It's too bad Banquo couldn't be here.
I know. He's a good friend.
And he has lovely thighs: smooth, tan, and powerful.
(NARRATOR/MACBETH has a stomach ache again.)
(pulling her husband downstage) What's wrong with you?
This stomach ache won't go away.
Go poop, and you'll feel better.
(NARRATOR/MACBETH moves to the downstage chair, sees BANQUO as a ghost, screams like an old lady.)
Why do you make such faces?
(pointing to BANQUO) G-g-ghost!
(doesn't see BANQUO) When all's done,
You look but on a stool.
Now poop out your stomach ache!
(BANQUO opens a newspaper.)
I can't, there's a ghost! And it looks like he'll be here a while.
This party is over!
(Exeunt all but NARRATOR/MACBETH and BANQUO. They remain in place, but not frozen while WITCHES enter.)
I'm so pissed off. The witches haven't done anything since Act I.
We'll have our revenge.
I like jokes about poop!
So ends Act III. More witches, more killing, more jokes about poop--anon!
(1) The tag-team action references Aprille Clarke's "My Stunt Double", performed at No Shame Iowa City in the spring of 2005.
Performed by Adam Hahn with Aprille Clarke as Lady Macbeth; Jesse Blaine, Bobby Evers, and Jamal River as Witches; Michael Tabor as Ross; Jonathan Shelton as Banquo; Mirri, Katy Baggs, and Timm Sitzmann as Murderers; Eli Wilkinson as Stunt Double.