Macbeth at the Albery - The Inside Story

Last Update: 13 November 2002

"When the hurly burly's done!": Alex Moen on being a Weird Sister

Alex Moen graduated from drama school last summer and this is her first professional role  

What’s it like playing a Weird Sister?
If you’re a figment of imagination (and in this production we are a figment of Macbeth’s) you can't exactly ask yourself "what did I have for breakfast?" Equally you can’t play the part as an abstract concept, you have to play it with as much of your own personality as possible. I look quite young and innocent which is useful for the part because the Weird Sisters’ actions give the lie to this image, particularly when we seduce Macbeth. Not being quite what we seem is disconcerting and unsettling both for Macbeth and the audience. In fact, the Weird Sisters change image throughout the play - in the beginning we're seen as old hags picking over the corpses of battle and at the coronation we're singing the Latin Mass. Our function is to hold up a mirror to Macbeth (and we do literally hold a mirror to him at one point, leading him onto the stage with it).

Why have you cut some of the third scene and changed the location to Macbeth's bedroom?
The director didn't want us to be three conventional "witches" that had a broth and a cauldron with which to "summon" Macbeth. Instead we're attempting to create a duel between Macbeth and the Weird Sisters so that it's ambiguous who is summoning whom. Macbeth is eventually seduced by the sisters in his bedroom - the place where his conscious merges with his subconscious (the Weird Sisters live in Macbeth's subconcious). It is where he accesses his darker side and where he wishes to know what his future will bring. The sisters aren't actually very willing to tell him their predictions but he pushes them to do so and with it seals his fate.

How do the three of you work together?
Another part of the concept is that the Weird Sisters are triplets - the designer has given us each a red wig to match us physically – but like all sisters we still have very distinctive vocal and physical characteristics, and different qualities to our singing voices. As well as the matching hair we need to be physically aware of each other to give ourselves a sense of genetic telepathy. We sing a lullaby together as we enter Macbeth's bedroom and the song acts as an aphrodisiac prior to the seduction. We begin to twist ourselves around him so that none of us can escape, the music apparently binding us inextricably together.

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