It’s amazing to think that it’s now five years since the arrival of Macbeth: A Novel, the audio adaptation of Shakespeare’s great tragedy I co-wrote with A.J. Hartley. Since then we’ve returned to the subject matter with Hamlet of course. Both adaptations had wonderful narrators: Alan Cumming returning to his native Scotland for Macbeth and Richard Armitage putting in an astonishing performance for all the voices in Hamlet.
But here’s another version for the German speakers among you. One of the things I love about working with Audible is their constant striving to innovate and find new ways to tell audio stories. A while back I was approached by their German arm Audible.de with an idea that was impossible to resist. How would I feel about adapting our original adaptation in English back into the dramatic form? In other words… no longer as an audiobook, but as a radio play, with special effects, multiple actors, music and all the other elements that go to make up what audio drama really is… a movie for your ears?
I couldn’t possibly say no of course, so tomorrow, the four hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, welcome a new version of Macbeth to the world. It’s the story you thought you knew reimagined, an epic of warfare, struggle and love in the wilds of Scotland. I wrote the script based on our original audiobook then Holger Michel and Steffen Wilhelm translated my script into German. If you know the original adaptation which A.J. and I wrote you’ll recognise the essential story, but expect a few surprises too, and the excitement of a highly dramatic production.
The cast list is a fantastic team of theatre, TV and audio actors who’ve put an astonishing amount of effort. Here’s Tobias Kluckert as a tortured but determined Macbeth.
And here’s Claudia Urbschat-Mingues as Lady Macbeth, a more sympathetic character than the usual production but no less steely.
As ever I’m immensely grateful to Audible for the courage and effort they display in stretching the boundaries of storytelling, especially Katja Reister who has nurtured the project with great care and attention since we first discussed it two years ago. My thanks to the wonderful cast and production staff — and, of course, A.J for co-writing the original with me in the first place. We’ll all be fascinated to know what you, the audience, think of the results. And who knows… perhaps there’ll be more on the way.
Here, to give you a further taste, is the trailer.