I, Banquo: some notes from the playwright
I, Banquo is the last play I wrote in this FairyMonsterGhost series. It’s different from the other two because it’s written for slightly older children. There’s so much blood in it that I’ve been told people under the age of 11 might faint. I don’t personally believe that! My youngest son is six and he loved the blood! Couldn’t get enough of it.
Macbeth is very near the top of my favourite Shakespeare plays. It’s short, there’s lots of action, and the language is amazing. I studied it at school and I’ve been lucky to play Macbeth himself on stage. It gets under your skin. After the production was over I dreamed about it for months!
When I was acting in Macbeth I realised how important his relationship was with his best friend, Banquo. When Macbeth kills the king, he’s keeps it together. When he kills his best friend, he goes to pieces. It’s significant that it’s the ghost of Banquo he sees, not the ghost of the king. Killing his best friend plays more on his conscience. I don’t know about you, but I’m much closer to my best friends than I am to the Queen! (although, personally, I don’t recommend killing anyone!).
The idea of friendship is very important in I, Banquo. In the play I ask the audience to imagine that they are my best friend. I then get them to imagine the events leading up to them killing me! This is a very direct way into the imaginations of the audience. We all have friends; we all know what they mean to us.
Imagination is very important to the character of Macbeth. Before he kills the king, he imagines all the terrible things that could happen to him if he does so. It’s Macbeth’s imagination that makes his speeches so brilliant. His wife, Lady Macbeth, doesn’t have much of an imagination – until after the king is killed. And then she starts to lose it.
Banquo has a son: his name is Fleance. Fleance has a pretty tough time of it. He has no mum, and he’s there, right next to him, when his dad gets murdered. To my way of thinking, this would make anyone feel a bit down. And when my teenage son is a bit down, he puts on some really loud music or plays his electric guitar.