MACBETH does a back flip from a 10-foot-high city wall; his queen sings a lament as she wipes imaginary blood from her hands; and the courtiers enact their coup in Han dynasty dress. It is no typical production of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” that Spoleto Festival U.S.A. is presenting on Thursday and Friday in Charleston, S.C.
Renamed “The Kingdom of Desire,” it is a creation of the Contemporary Legend Theater of Taiwan, which has fused Shakespeare’s plot with the mise-en-sc√®ne of Beijing opera. The verses are in Mandarin (with English titles), and the words are accentuated by the actors’ flowing patterns of movement. While plotting the king’s murder, Wei Hai-Ming, as Lady Macbeth, elegantly twirls the long sleeves of her dress. Wu Hsing-Kuo, meanwhile, as Macbeth, twists his body in snakelike fashion and flutters his hands in circles. His movements intensify as his strong tones resonate throughout the auditorium.