Celebrity Classics: The Six-Minute Macbeth
Saturday, November 9, 1996
GK: And now....Celebrity Classics --- the voices you know bringing you the literature you love. This week: The Six Minute MacBeth, starring Mr. Rogers as MacBeth, with Henry Kissinger as King Duncan, Jack Nicholson as the Thane of Ross, Julia Child as Lady MacBeth.... (ORGAN. THUNDER & RAIN.)
TR (PEROT): When the hurly-burly's done
When the battle's lost and won
and twill pass ere set of sun
We shall meet upon the heath
And it don't take a nuclear physicist to tell ya that
Fair is foul, and foul is fair
Hover through the fog and filthy air.
(THUNDER & RAIN.)
GK: King Duncan! (TK TRUMPET FANFARE)
TR (KISSINGER): Good afternoon. According to the information we have at this time, there seems to have been some kind of rebellion, but it would be premature for me to make a formal statement at this time and so I won't. (FOOTSTEPS, ARMOR. TK TRUMPET FANFARE)
GK: Here is the loyal Thane of Ross, maybe he knows.
TR (NICHOLSON): Heya, King. God save the King. Here's the deal: MacBeth and Banquo were just about done mopping up the rebellion when these Norwegians came in and the Thane a Cawdor turned traitor and joined em, but MacBeth and Banquo and me, we fought 'em off, drove 'em back to Dunsinane. The Thane a Cawdor got his butt kicked. He's a piece of toast. And here I am.
TK: A toast to the Thane of Ross! (REPEAT, IN SERIES) TR (KISSINGER): Loyal Ross, go to MacBeth and tell him of the traitor Cawdor's death --- what he hath lost, noble MacBeth hath won. MacBeth shall Thane of Cawdor be.
TK: He shall be Thane of Cawdor! (REPEAT SERIES) (THUNDER & RAIN. DRUM BEAT)
TR (PEROT): A drum. A drum.
MacBeth doth come.
(ARMORED FOOTSTEPS ENTER)
All hail MacBeth! Hail, Thane of Cawdor.
All hail MacBeth! that shalt be king hereafter!
TR (MR. ROGERS): Oh my, that was quite some bolt of lightning. Are you afraid of lightning? Are you? I am. And I'm afraid of my wife too. Yes, I am. Do you know what the word "creepy" means? Do you? Why, here is our old friend, Banquo. How are you, Banquo?
TR (PEROT): (WITH REVERB) Hail! Hail! Banquo!
Lesser than MacBeth, and greater.
Not so happy, but much happier.
Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.
Look at this chart here. It's as simple as this.
TR (MR. ROGERS): Well, isn't that interesting, Banquo. The witches said your children will be kings, didn't they? And they said I'll be Thane of Cawdor and then King, that's right. But you can't believe everything you hear, can you? No, you can't. Especially when it's a witch in a thunderstorm. No. (FOOTSTEPS IN ARMOR APPROACH)
GK: The loyal Thane of Ross. (TK REPEATS SERIES: Loyal Thane of Ross.)
TR (NICHOLSON): Hey, Macbeth, King Duncan's real glad about how you and Banquo wiped out that rebellion and says I ought to call you Thane of Cawdor. (CHORD)
(MEOW) TR (MR. ROGERS): Did I hear you call me Thane of Cawdor? Did I? My goodness. Mr. MacBeth is having some dark thoughts. Do you know what the word "regicide" means? Do you?
(MEOW) TR (NICHOLSON): The King wants to see ya.
GK: You'd best get going.
TR (MR. ROGERS): We'll go right away, won't we?
GK: You're starting to refer to yourself in the plural, I see.
TR (MR. ROGERS): Yes, we are. And we shall continue to do so. Won't we? Away!
TK REPEAT: Away! (MARCHING FEET, HORSE WHINNIES)
GK: And so they went to see the King, who confirmed the words Ross had spoken.
TR (KISSINGER): I think that I can safely say that thou are Thane of Cawdor. (CHORD)
GK: And then Mr. MacBeth returned to his home in Glamis (HOOVES) where was his wife, Lady MacBeth, waited at the door.
TR (JULIA CHILD): Hail MacBeth, loving husband, Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and greater still to come! Yes, a messenger told me, it's lovely news. And guess what! The king and his sons are coming for dinner. So I'm preparing this lovely goose in a green peppercorn sauce over wild rice. Yes, the king's goose is cooked. And tonight my handsome MacBeth will be King of the Scots! Won't that be lovely? (THUNDER)
TR (MR. ROGERS): Well, Mr. MacBeth just got to be Thane of Cawdor, that's not so bad, is it? No, it's not.
TR (JULIA CHILD): Screw your courage to the sticking- place! (THUNDER)
TR (MR. ROGERS): Well, okay. Do I know what "courage" means? Yes, I think I do. So now all I need to do is find a sticking place. (MUSIC)
GK: Late that night, after dinner, while everyone slept, the king's guards lay unconscious at their posts, stuffed with crême brulé. (FOOTSTEPS, PACING)
TR (MR. ROGERS): What's this? Is this a dagger which I see before me? Is it? Yes, it is. And is the handle toward my hand? Yes it is. (FOOTSTEPS AWAY)
GK: As Lady MacBeth paced the vast emptiness of the house.
TR (JULIA CHILD): Oh dear, maybe I should have done it myself. . . . (STRUGGLE & STABBINGS OFF; CRIES: MURDER! MURDER!)
TR (JULIA CHILD): Heavens! What a ruckus! (FOOTSTEPS ENTER)
TR (MR. ROGERS): Well, the deed is done. I do seem to have a little blood on me, but I'll just take off my sweater and go clean up, okay? Good. (KNOCKS AND SHOUTS WITHOUT)
TR (JULIA CHILD): Quick! Give me the daggers. Go, go, quick like a bunny! (FOOTSTEPS EXIT. KNOCKS AND SHOUTS WITHOUT)
GK: And it was good MacDuff at the door.
TR (CLINTON): King Duncan wanted me to pop by this morning, wake him up, go out for a little golf so where is he? (DOOR OPENS) Holy smokes, he's dead! (CHORD)
TR (MR. ROGERS): I imagine you think it was me, don't you, but it wasn't me. No, it wasn't. (AROUSED VOICES; HURRIED FOOTSTEPS; CRIES OF ALARM. HORSES WHINNYING. RIDERS AWAY. MARCHING FEET. CRIES. TRUMPET)
GK: There was great confusion. The King's sons, Malcolm and Donalbain, fled, afraid for their lives, and MacBeth convinced his fellow Thanes that the guards had killed the king, and the Thanes went off in pursuit of Malcolm and Donalbain, and everything was perfect. MacBeth was king of Scotland.
TR (MR. ROGERS): Can you say, 'Your Majesty?' Can you? (MEOW) Good.
GK: And then MacBeth remembered how the witches had foretold that Banquo would beget kings, and so he had Banquo killed. (CAT STRANGLING) But Banquo's son escaped. And then MacDuff didnþt come to MacBeth's dinner party, but Banquo's ghost did. . . .
TK (CAT): (WITH REVERB) Meow. Murderer.
GK: MacDuff had escaped to England, along with the King's sons. Which ticked off MacBeth, and he killed a bunch of people, just to blow off some steam. And it got to be a kind of a habit.
TR (MR. ROGERS): When people bug me, do you know what I like to do? Do you? I like to chop their heads off. Yes, I do. Would you like to have your head chopped off? No? Then don't bug me. Okay? Good. (DARK CHORDS)
GK: Soon a great pall hung over Scotland, and the people were oppressed, and polling revealed that MacBeth's negatives were very high, and Lady MacBeth could be seen wandering about the castle in her sleep, harassing her pets:
TR (JULIA CHILD): Out. Out, I say. (DOG WHIMPER)
TR (JULIA CHILD): Out, damned Spot. (DOG WHIMPER. CHORDS)
GK: And MacBeth went back to the witches, whose prophecies had foretold all that had come to pass. (THUNDER)
TR (PEROT): (WITH REVERB) Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.
It's like I've said time and time again:
No man of woman born
Shall kill MacBeth.
MacBeth shall never vanquished be until
Great Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane Hill.
You can count on it as sure as the Lord made little green apples.
TR (MR. ROGERS): Well, that sounds pretty good, doesn't it. Yes, it does. So I guess I'll go kill MacDuff's wife and children and when he comes after me, I'll kill him. Yes, I will.
GK: Word of MacBeth's violence reached MacDuff in England.
TR (CLINTON): That's just terrible, he's gone too far, I mean, I share his pain and everything, but I think it's time to go take that sucker out. To Scotland! (TK SERIES OF REPEATS: TO SCOTLAND!) (SHOUTS, MARCHING FEET, HORSES NEIGHING)
GK: And so they set out: Malcolm, the prince, son of good King Duncan; the Earl of Northumberland, and the Thanes Menteith and Caithness and Lennox, and they marched toward Fife stopping at the Thane of MacDonald's on the way
TR (CLINTON): That's nine-hundred forty-seven burgers, thirty-two with no pickles, eight-hundred-seventy-one fries. .
GK: And then they assembled in the Great Birnam Woods, thousands of them.....(HORSES, MURMURS)
TR (CLINTON): I can't thank y'all enough for comin' out to support me today. . . so how about we all take a little branch offa one a these trees and hide behind it so we can sneak up on the peckerwood. . . (MURMURS, CREEPING FEET)
GK: And they crept toward Dunsinane, where MacBeth was in MacDuff's castle in Fife, and he looked out and saw Great Birnam Wood approaching, carried by men who also carried sharp objects.
TR (MR. ROGERS): That's not good. No, it isn't. (CRIES AND SHOUTS, TRUMPET CALLS. HORSES. MARCHING FEET)
GK: And soon the army of MacDuff was upon the castle. and there was a great battle, and MacBeth's army was defeated, and MacDuff himself came in pursuit of MacBeth.
TR (CLINTON): I'm gonna git you, MacBeth. (SWORD PLAY)
TR (MR. ROGERS): Well, I don't think you are, Mr. MacDuff, and do you know why? Do you? Because the witches told me that no man of woman born could kill me? Did you know that? Did you? (MORE SWORDPLAY)
TR (CLINTON): Can you say the words "Caesarean Section?" (CHORD. THRUST OF SWORD. PIERCE.)
TR (MR ROGERS): Oh my. That was a very sharp sword, wasn't it. Yes, it was. I think that Mr. MacBeth's going to die now, don't you? Yes, he is. (GASP)
GK: (MUSIC) The six-minute MacBeth, brought to you here on Celebrity Classics.
©1996 BY GREG NAGAN