RemarkaBULL Podversations are informal, livestreamed conversations that investigate approaches to essential passages from the Shakespearean and Jacobean canon―and beyond.
ISMENIA MENDES joined host NATHAN WINKELSTEIN, Red Bull’s Associate Artistic Director, for a conversation focused on Lady Macbeth–a role that she played to great acclaim in our 2019 production of MAC BETH. They discussed the challenges and rewards of playing one of Shakespeare’s most iconic leading women. She read an excerpt of Act 1: Scene 7 "Was the hope drunk wherein you dressed yourself?". And took questions from the audience.
from AcT I: Scene 7
How now! what news?
He has almost supp'd: why have you left the chamber?
Hath he ask'd for me?
Know you not he has?
We will proceed no further in this business:
He hath honour'd me of late; and I have bought
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which would be worn now in their newest gloss,
Not cast aside so soon.
Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dress'd yourself? hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valour
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,'
Like the poor cat i' the adage?
I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none.
What beast was't, then,
That made you break this enterprise to me?
When you durst do it, then you were a man;
And, to be more than what you were, you would
Be so much more the man. Nor time nor place
Did then adhere, and yet you would make both:
They have made themselves, and that their fitness now
Does unmake you. I have given suck, and know
How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me:
I would, while it was smiling in my face,
Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums,
And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you
Have done to this.
If we should fail?
But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we'll not fail. When Duncan is asleep--
Whereto the rather shall his day's hard journey
Soundly invite him--his two chamberlains
Will I with wine and wassail so convince
That memory, the warder of the brain,
Shall be a fume, and the receipt of reason
A limbeck only: when in swinish sleep
Their drenched natures lie as in a death,
What cannot you and I perform upon
The unguarded Duncan? what not put upon
His spongy officers, who shall bear the guilt
Of our great quell?
Bring forth men-children only;
For thy undaunted mettle should compose
Nothing but males. Will it not be received,
When we have mark'd with blood those sleepy two
Of his own chamber and used their very daggers,
That they have done't?
Who dares receive it other,
As we shall make our griefs and clamour roar
Upon his death?
I am settled, and bend up
Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.
Away, and mock the time with fairest show:
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.
ISMENIA MENDES has shown an extraordinary talent for classical theater from a young age. Since graduating from Juilliard, Ismenia has performed to great critical acclaim, playing the title role in Daniel Sullivan's production of Troilus and Cressida at Shakespeare in the Park; Off-Broadway in David Ives's adaptation of Corneille's The Liar; as Katherine in Michael Sexton's production of Henry V; as Hero in Jack O'Brien's Much Ado About Nothing; and as Lady Macbeth in Red Bull Theater's acclaimed production of Mac Beth. Other credits include: Marys Seacole (LCT3); Grand Concourse, Your Mother's Copy of the Kama Sutra (Playwrights Horizons); The Wayside Motor Inn (The Signature Theater); Family Furniture (The Flea); Baby Screams Miracle (Clubbed Thumb). TV/film- Laila on Apple series "Little Voice", Tali Grapes on S7 of "Orange is the New Black", Anja Jacobs on "High Maintenance" (HBO), "The Devil You Know" (HBO pilot: Jenji Kohan/Gus Van Sant).