Writings, 1944

We have to do Macbeth!

On Macbeth as an anti-Nazi allegory.

About the text

Bergman begins the article by recounting how his previous production of Macbeth had inadvertently received the brutal backdrop of Germany’s invasion of Denmark and Norway. With the war still raging, Bergman regards the play as an allegory:

Last summer, when I was choosing the repertoire for Stadsteatern’s autumn season, there came the sudden realisation that we <i>have</i> to do Macbeth. After that, there was no turning back. There is no play more relevant today: a piece that only a few years ago was regarded as a meaningless, dated monstrosity, is today an urgent and timely reflection of our world.

I am well aware that Stadsteatern’s ensemble is already stretched to breaking point. And yet, I believe that it is not only our right, but our duty to perform this play. If I were to describe our production, a few words come to mind: restraint, frenzy, thriller, modern people, a simplified decorative backdrop – ceremony.

I know this may sound scattered, but at present I feel I cannot tell you any more. As a German philosopher once put it: Künstler rede nicht! That is: Hypocrite, hold your tongue!