“BOSCUTTI’S MACBETH” (SCREENPLAY)

What price power?

Murder and madness follow Macbeth in his rise to become the crime king of 1940s New York.

Spectral forces spin a maelstrom of paranoia and deception in this frightening drama. Slaughtered children and strangled sleep. Unbridled violence. Prophecy.

“Boscutti’s Macbeth” is a transfixing screenplay. An unholy look at unchecked ambition and tyranny.

Will Macbeth control his own righteous destiny?

Or succumb to fate everlasting?

“Boscutti’s Macbeth” is based on William Shakespeare’s classic “The Tragedie of Macbeth.” Which was based on the historical King Macbeth of Scotland, and derived largely from the account in “Holinshed's Chronicles.”

Rated NC-17 / ISBN 9780987446541 / 20,000 words / 80 minutes of macabre reading pleasure

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‘Let us do or die.’ John Fletcher

STEFANO BOSCUTTI

MACBETH


BASED ON THE PLAY BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Copyright 2005 Stefano Boscutti
All Rights Reserved

Music of “Rhapsody in Blue” by Gershwin spills out.

HEAVY GRAY STORM CLOUDS - TWILIGHT

FADE IN

Sounds of thunder broiling as we bank and slowly whirl into swarming storm clouds. (Being pulled beyond our control into a maelstrom above the earth.)

Lightning tears across the darkening sky.

The voices of the THREE WITCHES speak as one. Hollow. Sepulchral. Neither masculine, nor feminine

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

The voice is bewitching. Haggard, soft and preening.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
When the hurlyburly’s done, when the battle’s lost and won. That will be ere the set of sun. There to meet with Macbeth.

Thunder bursts. Storm clouds tear and streak past, like tendrils.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
Fair is foul, and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air.

Lightning flashes, blinding white. Cracks and rips the dank sky.

EXPLODE TO WHITE

FADE IN

1940S MIDTOWN MANHATTAN RESTAURANT - DUSK

Move out and down from a white ceiling light to reveal a traditional restaurant bustling with harried WAITERS in long aprons attending to troops of GANGSTERS.

Gangsters wear brown suits, white shirts, ties and handmade shoes. (They are all clean shaven, with hair slicked back under hats.) Most are checking their revolvers, shotguns, blades.

SERGEANT props himself at a table, bleeding from a shoulder wound. Spins the lid off a brown medicine bottle and downs a mouthful of white painkillers.

DUNCAN, MALCOLM, DONALBAIN, LENNOX stride in with various BODYGUARDS and ATTENDANTS. Duncan is king, silver haired and wearing a long black leather topcoat. Smokes a cigar.

DUNCAN
What bloody man is that?

Malcolm and Donalbain are Duncan’s twin sons. Both wear long dark brown topcoats. (As does Lennox.)

MALCOLM
Sergeant, who like a good and hardy soldier fought ‘gainst my captivity.

Malcolm is heir apparent.

MALCOLM
Hail, brave friend! Say to the king the knowledge of the broil as you did leave it.

SERGEANT
Doubtful it stood. As two spent swimmers, that do cling together and choke their art.

TWO WAITERS crash into each other and send dishes crashing.

SERGEANT
The merciless thane of Cawdor -- worthy to be a rebel, for multiplying villainies of nature do swarm upon him -- from the western isles of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied.

Duncan fingers the imperial gold ring on his right hand.

SERGEANT
And fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling, show’d like a rebel’s whore.

Sergeant painfully grabs a loose tommy gun with one hand, stands forth and mimics Macbeth’s actions through the crowd.

SERGEANT
But all’s too weak for brave Macbeth -- well he deserves that name -- disdaining fortune, with his brandish’d steel, which smoked with bloody execution, like valour’s minion carved out his passage till he faced the slave.

Sergeant faces a terrified WAITER. Sergeant presses the muzzle into his gut and drags it slowly up to his gullet.

SERGEANT
Which ne’er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, till he unseam’d him from the nave to the chaps, and fix’d his head upon our battlements.

Duncan laughs, rejoicing as he praises Macbeth.

DUNCAN
O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!

SERGEANT
But from that spring when comfort seem’d to come discomfort swells.

Lennox looks on, worried.

SERGEANT
No sooner justice had with valour arm’d compell’d these skipping kerns to trust their heels --

Sergeant turns to face Duncan.

SERGEANT
-- but the Norweyan lord surveying vantage, with furbish’d arms and new supplies of men began a fresh assault.

DUNCAN
Dismay’d not this our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?

SERGEANT
I must report they were as cannons overcharged with double cracks. They doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe. Whether they meant to bathe in reeking wounds, or memorise another Golgotha, I cannot tell.

Sergeant grimaces in pain.

DUNCAN
So well your words become you as your wounds. They smack of honour both. Get him surgeons.

Several Attendants dash to help Sergeant exit.

Front door flies open. Duncan looks up. ROSS rushes in, blonde hair askew,

MALCOLM (OFF)
Our worthy thane of Ross.

Ross too is overcoated, right fist clenched tight.

LENNOX
What haste looks through his eyes!

ROSS
God save Duncan!

DUNCAN
Where have you come from, worthy thane?

ROSS
From Fife, great king, where the Norweyan banners flout the sky and fan our people cold.

Ross is panting.

ROSS
Norway himself, with terrible numbers, assisted by that most disloyal traitor of Cawdor, began a dismal conflict.

Ross swallows hard.

ROSS
Point against point rebellious, arm ‘gainst arm, curbing his lavish spirit, and --

Ross smiles as he raises his clenched hand to Duncan and opens it to reveal Cawdor’s bloodied silver signet ring.

ROSS
-- the victory fell on us.

DUNCAN
Great happiness!

ROSS
Now Norway craves composition for we denied him burial of his men till he disbursed us ten thousand.

Duncan deftly plucks Cawdor’s ring out of Ross’ palm.

DUNCAN
No more shall that thane of Cawdor deceive our interest.

Duncan’s mind is made up. Duncan turns to his Bodyguards.

DUNCAN
Go pronounce his present death.

Duncan holds Cawdor’s ring to Ross.

DUNCAN
And with his former title you greet Macbeth.

ROSS
I’ll see it done.

Spin into Cawdor’s ring between Duncan’s thumb and forefinger.

DUNCAN (OFF)
What he has lost noble Macbeth has won.

Sounds of rain sleeting, wind wailing, thunder crashing.

BROOKLYN BRIDGE - EVENING

Spin down into vortex to speeding car slicing through teeming rain, racing towards Manhattan.

Sounds of car horn blasting.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
A drum, a drum! Macbeth doth come.

Spin faster into car roof.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
Thrice to thine and thrice to mine and thrice again, to make up nine. Peace! the charm’s wound up.

CAR - BROOKLYN BRIDGE - EVENING

Windscreen wipers slush against the driving rain.

MACBETH is at the wheel, squinting. (A silver signet ring denotes him thane of Glamis.)

MACBETH
So foul and fair a day I have not seen.

Macbeth wears a long dark brown topcoat. His hair is black.

Macbeth veers off the bridge into Lower Manhattan, tires screeching. BANQUO peers into the passing city streets from the front passenger seat.

BANQUO
How far to Forres?

Banquo wears a long dark brown topcoat and a pair of rounded tortoiseshell glasses.

Lightning spears an old roadside electricity pylon up ahead. Sparks shower as it topples and crashes, blocking their path. Macbeth slams the brakes and swerves and slides to a stop to avoid smashing into the tangled metal and shredded wires still spitting sparks in the downpour.

Banquo spies an old abandoned church.

He spots three hunched figures slipping in through the tempestuous wind.

BANQUO
What are these?

Banquo dashes out of car into the forgotten church. Macbeth has no choice but to follow.

LOWER MANHATTAN - ABANDONED CHURCH - EVENING 

Banquo is standing in the vestibule as Macbeth is blown in to the desecrated church.

Pews upturned, altar smashed, pulpit toppled, font destroyed. The air is thick, the dust and grime thicker.

They’re are no crucifixes, no crosses.

A crouched figure scurries one way and vanishes. Then another. Banquo calls out.

BANQUO
Live you? Or are you aught?

A third slouched figure blurs and disappears.

MACBETH
Speak, if you can. What are you?

THREE WITCHES speak as one from the east.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis!

THREE WITCHES speak as one from the west.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!

THREE WITCHES speak as one from the north.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!

Macbeth steps back and draws his revolver out of his shoulder holster. (Cylinder rolls as he thumbs back the hammer.)

BANQUO
Why do you start, and seem to fear things that do sound so fair?

Banquo steps into the empty church.

BANQUO
My noble partner you greet with present grace and great prediction of noble having and of royal hope, that he seems rapt withal. To me you speak not.

Sounds of growling thunder.

BANQUO
If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then to me, who neither beg nor fear your favors nor your hate.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
Hail! Hail! Hail! Lesser than Macbeth, and greater. Not so happy, yet much happier. Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.

Lightning cuts asunder. Dust swirls.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo! Banquo and Macbeth, all hail! Dust swirls away.

MACBETH
Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more.

Dust settles.

MACBETH
By Sinel’s death I know I am thane of Glamis. But how of Cawdor? Our thane of Cawdor lives, a prosperous gentleman, and to be king stands not within prospect.

Banquo looks high, looks low.

MACBETH
Say from where you owe this strange intelligence? Or why upon this blasted heath you stop our way with such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you. Speak!

Banquo shrugs.

MACBETH
Into the air. And what seem’d corporal melted as breath into the wind. Would they had stay’d!

Banquo kicks the dust off the floor into the air.

BANQUO
Were such things here as we do speak about? Or have we eaten on the insane root that takes reason prisoner?

Beat.

MACBETH
Your children shall be kings.

Beat.

BANQUO
You shall be king.

MACBETH
And thane of Cawdor too. Went it not so?

BANQUO
To the selfsame tune and words.

Church door creaks open. Banquo flings out his switchblade.

BANQUO
Who’s here?

Ross and ANGUS step into the forgotten church.

ROSS
Macbeth, our king has happily received news of your success. His wonders and his praises do contend.

Macbeth breeches his revolver.

ROSS
In viewing o’er the rest o’ the selfsame day, he finds you in the stout Norweyan ranks, nothing afeard of death yourself. Every one did bear your praises in his kingdom’s great defence.

ANGUS - We are sent to royal master. sight, not pay give you thanks from our To herald you into his you.

ROSS
And, for an earnest of a greater honour, he bade me call you thane of Cawdor.

Ross bows.

ROSS
Hail, most worthy thane! For it is yours.

Banquo laughs.

BANQUO
What? Can the devil speak true?

MACBETH
Our thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you dress me in borrow’d robes?

ANGUS
Who was our thane lives yet. But under heavy judgment bears a life which he deserves to lose.

Macbeth looks confounded.

ANGUS
Whether he combined with those of Norway, or did line the rebel with hidden help and vantage, or that with both, I know not. But treasons capital, confess’d and proved, have overthrown him.

Move into Macbeth as he looks away.

MACBETH (V/O)
Glamis! And thane of Cawdor! The greatest is behind. Macbeth looks to Ross and Angus.

Macbeth looks to Ross and Angus.

MACBETH
Thanks for your pains.

Ross and Angus step away. Macbeth turns to Banquo.

MACBETH
Do you not hope your children shall be kings, when those that gave our thane of Cawdor to me promised no less to them?

BANQUO
That trusted home might yet enkindle you unto the crown. Banquo looks away, troubled.

Banquo looks away, troubled.

BANQUO
But oftentimes, to win us harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths. Win us with honest trifles, to betray in deepest consequence.

Banquo follows after Ross and Angus.

BANQUO
Cousins, a word, I pray you.

Macbeth looks beside himself.

MACBETH (V/O)
Two truths are told, as happy prologues to the swelling act of the imperial theme. This supernatural soliciting cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill, why has it given me earnest of success, commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor. If good, why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image does unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs?

Macbeth looks up into the vaulted ceiling, chilled.

MACBETH (V/O)
Present fears are less than horrible imaginings. My thought, that murder yet is but fantastical, shakes so my single state of man is smother’d in surmise, and nothing is but what is not.

Banquo nods to Ross and Angus.

BANQUO
Look, how our partner’s rapt.

Macbeth is still lost in his thoughts.

MACBETH (V/O)
If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, without my stir.

Banquo confides to Ross and Angus.

BANQUO
New honours upon him, like strange garments, cleave not to their mould but with the aid of use.

Macbeth is resigned to himself.

MACBETH (V/O)
Come what may, time and the hour runs through the roughest day.

BANQUO
Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.

Macbeth pulls himself together.

MACBETH
Give me your favour. My dull brain was wrought with things forgotten. Let us toward the king.

Macbeth pulls Banquo aside.

MACBETH
Think upon what has chanced, and, more time having weigh’d it, let us speak our free hearts each to other.

BANQUO
Very gladly.

MACBETH
Till then, enough.

Macbeth calls out to Ross and Angus.

MACBETH
Come, friends.

Macbeth, Banquo, Ross and Angus leave the deserted church.

MIDTOWN - FORRES PLAZA HOTEL FOYER - NIGHT

Duncan, Malcolm, Donalbain and Lennox enter. Bodyguards and Attendants follow. Gangsters everywhere nod their respects.

BELLHOPS, DOORMEN, CONCIERGES, DRIVERS and STAFF bow quickly as the king strides past, questioning his son.

DUNCAN
Is execution done on Cawdor?

MALCOLM
My liege, I spoke with one that saw him die who did report he confess’d his treasons very frankly.

Malcolm looks solemn.

MALCOLM
Implored your highness’ pardon and set forth a deep repentance. Nothing in his life became him like leaving it. He died as one that threw away the dearest thing he owed, as ‘twere a careless trifle.

DUNCAN
There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face.

Duncan catches his reflection in a gold-flecked mirror.

DUNCAN
He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust.

Macbeth, Banquo, Ross and Angus enter the most luxurious hotel. Duncan opens his arms wide.

DUNCAN
O worthiest cousin! The sin of my ingratitude even now is heavy on me. You are so far before, the swiftest wing of recompense is slow to overtake you.

Duncan embraces Macbeth firmly.

DUNCAN
I have left only to say, more is your due than more than all can pay.

Macbeth falls to his knee, head bowed.

MACBETH
The service and the loyalty I owe, in doing it, pays itself. Your highness’ part is to receive our duties. And our duties are to your throne and children and servants, which do what they should by doing every thing safe toward your love and honour.

Duncan looks proud as he lifts Macbeth’s hand and slips the thane of Cawdor’s silver signet ring above the other.

DUNCAN
Welcome hither!

Macbeth stands and Duncan embraces him close, like a son.

DUNCAN
I have begun to plant you, and will labor to make you full of growing.

Duncan turns to embrace Banquo with joyful tears in his eyes.

DUNCAN
Noble Banquo, that has no less deserved, nor must be known no less to have done so, let me enfold you and hold you to my heart.

BANQUO
There if I grow, the harvest is your own.

DUNCAN
My plenteous joys, wanton in fulness, seek to hide themselves in drops of sorrow. Sons, kinsmen, thanes, and you whose places are the nearest, know we will establish our estate upon our eldest, Malcolm, whom we name hereafter The Prince. Which honour, like stars, shall shine on all deservers.

Duncan beams at Macbeth.

DUNCAN
From hence to Inverness, and bind us further to you.

MACBETH
I’ll be myself the harbinger and make joyful the hearing of my wife with your approach, so humbly take my leave.

DUNCAN
My worthy Cawdor!

Macbeth glances at Duncan’s son, Malcolm, as he stops before stepping outside.

MACBETH (V/O)
The Prince! That is a step on which I must fall down, or else o’erleap, for in my way it lies.

Sounds of bustling hotel ebb away.

MACBETH (V/O)
Stars, hide your flames. Let not light see my black and deep desires.

Macbeth closes his eyes. Takes a deep, deep breath.

MACBETH (V/O)
The eye winks at the hand. Yet let that be, which the eye fears, when it’s done to see.

Macbeth snaps open his eyes and heads off to the bank of phone booths.

Duncan (with an arm draped around Banquo’s shoulder) points him out.

DUNCAN
True, worthy Banquo, he is so valiant, and in his commendations I am fed. It is a banquet to me. Let’s after him, whose care is gone before to bid us welcome. He is a peerless kinsman.

Macbeth closes the phone booth’s folding glass door and turns his back to make a private call.

Back of his black hair.

MATCH DISSOLVE

LOWER MANHATTAN - INVERNESS MANOR MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT

Back of layers of dark red hair to reveal LADY MACBETH with her back to us as she gently places the telephone handset onto the cradle and recalls Macbeth’s closing words.

LADY MACBETH
-- that you might not lose due rejoicing by being ignorant of what greatness is promised you. Lay it to your heart, and farewell.

Lady Macbeth turns and fills her glass from a bottle of red wine. Shrewd elegance. (Wears a dusk dressing gown.)

LADY MACBETH
Glamis thou are, and Cawdor.

Lady Macbeth downs her fill.

LADY MACBETH
And shall be what you are promised.

Lady Macbeth pours another glass.

LADY MACBETH
Yet I do fear your nature. It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way. You would be great. You are not without ambition, but without the illness that should attend it.

Lady Macbeth laughs sadly.

LADY MACBETH
What you would highly, you would holily. Would not play false, and yet would wrongly win.

Lady Macbeth makes her way to the window and glances out to the grounds below. (A wooden pier juts into the East River.)

LADY MACBETH
Hie you here, so I may pour my spirits in you. And chastise with the valour of my tongue all that impedes you from the golden round...

Lady Macbeth swallows hard.

LADY MACBETH
...which fate and metaphysical aid do seem to have you crown’d withal.

Messenger knocks and enters. Lady Macbeth glares at him.

MESSENGER
The king comes here to-night.

LADY MACBETH
You are mad! Is not your master with him? Who, were’t so, would have inform’d for preparation.

MESSENGER
So please you, it is true. Our thane is coming. One of my fellows had the speed of him.

LADY MACBETH
Give him tending. He brings great news.

Messenger exits quickly.

Lady Macbeth looks out the window again. A raven lands on the black telephone line straining from the manor, caws hoarse as it ruffles its head and sweeps off into the night.

Lady Macbeth heads to the large bathroom.

She runs steaming hot water to fill the bath and looks hard into her reflection in the mirror as her bathrobe slips away. Steam ascends.

LADY MACBETH
Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from crown to toe top-full of direst cruelty!

Lady Macbeth lifts both arms higher, sinister like.

LADY MACBETH
Make thick my blood. Stop up the access and passage to remorse, so no compunctious visitings of nature shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between the effect and it!

Lady Macbeth is enveloped in rising, hissing steam.

LADY MACBETH
Come to my woman’s breasts, and take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers! Come, thick night, and pall in the dunnest smoke of hell, so my keen knife sees not the wound it makes, nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, to cry ‘Hold, hold!’

Macbeth steps through the steam, smiling.

LADY MACBETH
Great Glamis! Worthy Cawdor!

Lady Macbeth leans back into him.

LADY MACBETH
Greater than both, by the all-hail hereafter!

Lady Macbeth kisses him more than passionately.

Beat.

LADY MACBETH
Your call has transported me beyond this ignorant present, and I feel now the future in the instant.

MACBETH
My dearest love, Duncan comes here to-night.

LADY MACBETH
And when goes hence?

MACBETH
Tomorrow, as he purposes.

LADY MACBETH
O, never shall sun that morrow see!

Macbeth looks away.

LADY MACBETH
Your face, my thane, is as a book where men may read strange matters.

Lady Macbeth softly kisses up his neck, smiles into his eyes.

LADY MACBETH
To beguile the time, look like the time. Bear welcome in your eye, your hand, your tongue. Look like the innocent flower --

Lady Macbeth bites his cheek sharply. Macbeth recoils.

LADY MACBETH
-- but be the serpent under’t.

Macbeth dabs at the bloody welt.

LADY MACBETH
He that’s coming must be provided for. And you shall put this night’s great business into my dispatch, which shall to all our nights and days to come give solely sovereign sway and masterdom.

MACBETH
We will speak further.

Lady Macbeth whispers.

LADY MACBETH
Only look up clear. To alter favour is to fear.

Lady Macbeth looks back into her reflection.

LADY MACBETH
Leave all the rest to me.

Rising steam engulfs Lady Macbeth.

MATCH DISSOLVE

EAST RIVER - MOTOR BOAT BEFORE INVERNESS MANOR - NIGHT

Rising mist clears to reveal Duncan standing tall at the bow, black leather topcoat billowing as the craft approaches Macbeth’s Iverness manor.

Malcolm, Donalbain, Banquo, Lennox, MACDUFF, Ross, Angus, Attendants and Bodyguards stand behind.

Motorboat searchlight beams Iverness manor and pier.

DUNCAN
A pleasant seat. The air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle senses.

Banquo points out the martlets flitting about the manor.

BANQUO (OFF)
This guest of summer, the temple-haunting martlet, does approve that heaven’s breath smells wooingly here.

Angle on birds flitting about.

BANQUO (OFF)
No jutty, frieze, buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this bird has made his pendent bed and procreant cradle.

Duncan smiles approvingly as the motorboat prepares to dock. Duncan moists a cigar to his lips as an Attendant flames it.

BANQUO
Where they most breed and haunt, I have observed, the air is delicate.

Lady Macbeth makes her way down the pier towards the craft.

DUNCAN
See, see, our honor’d hostess!

Lady Macbeth drops to one knee, head bowed. Duncan motions her to stand.

LADY MACBETH
All our service in every point twice done and then done double were poor and single business to contend against those honors deep and broad wherewith your majesty loads our house.

DUNCAN
Where’s our thane of Cawdor? We coursed him at the heels, and had a purpose to be his purveyor. But he rides well.

Duncan smiles warmly at Lady Macbeth.

DUNCAN
And his great love, sharp as his spur, has helped him to his home before us. Fair and noble hostess, we are your guest to-night.

LADY MACBETH
Your servants ever have theirs, themselves and what is theirs, in compt, to make their audit at your highness’ pleasure.

DUNCAN
Conduct me to mine host.

Duncan offers his hand to Lady Macbeth. She takes it humbly.

DUNCAN
We love him highly, and shall continue our graces towards him. By your leave, hostess.

Rising cigar smoke envelopes Duncan. Sounds of wristwatch tick ticking fades up for next scene.

MATCH DISSOLVE

LOWER MANHATTAN - INVERNESS MANOR KITCHEN - NIGHT

Rising stovetop smoke clears to reveal Macbeth in deep thought by the swinging doors to the banquet hall.

Many KITCHEN HANDS and SERVANTS rush about. Macbeth looks out at his guests intermittently. He checks his watch.

MACBETH (V/O)
If it were done when ’tis done, then ‘twere well it were done quickly. If the assassination could trammel up the consequence we’d jump the life to come.

Flames lick on the stove.

MACBETH (V/O)
But in these cases we still have judgment here. We teach bloody instructions, which return to plague the inventor. This even- handed justice commends the ingredients of our poison’d chalice to our own lips.

Doors swing to reveal Duncan full of cheer at the banquet.

MACBETH (V/O)
He’s here in double trust. First, as his kinsman and his subject, I am strong both against the deed. Then, as his host, should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife. Besides, this Duncan has borne his faculties so meek, has been so clear in his great office, that his virtues will plead like angels against the deep damnation of his taking.

In a corner a MAID breastfeeds her CHILD.

MACBETH (V/O)
And pity shall blow the horrid deed in every eye. Tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur but vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself and falls.

Doors swing Lady Macbeth in, glass of red wine in hand.

MACBETH
What news?

LADY MACBETH
He has almost supp’d. Why have you left?

MACBETH
Has he ask’d for me?

LADY MACBETH
Know you not he has?

Macbeth looks away.

MACBETH
We will proceed no further. He has honor’d me of late. And I have bought golden opinions, which would be worn now in their newest gloss, not cast aside so soon.

Lady Macbeth looks scorned.

LADY MACBETH
Was the hope drunk wherein you dress’d yourself? Has it slept since? And wakes it now, to look so green and pale at what it did so freely?

Lady Macbeth’s lips tighten, words spit like venom.

LADY MACBETH
From this time such I account your love. Are you afeard to be the same in your own act and valor as you are in desire? Would you have that which you esteem’st the ornament of life, and live a coward in your own esteem, letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would’?

Macbeth bites his lips.

MACBETH
Pray, peace. I dare do all that may become a man. Who dares do more is none.

LADY MACBETH
What beast was’t, then, that made you break this enterprise to me? When you dared 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. Now they have made themselves, their fitness unmakes you.

Feeding child cries faintly in the background. Lady Macbeth leans into Macbeth.

LADY MACBETH
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.

Macbeth closes his eyes.

MACBETH
If we should fail?

LADY MACBETH
We fail! But screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we’ll not fail. When Duncan is asleep -- whereto 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.

Lady Macbeth gleams as she upholds a tincture bottle.

LADY MACBETH
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?

Macbeth wipes the sweat from his brow.

MACBETH
Bring forth men-children only! 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?

LADY MACBETH
Who dares receive it other, as we shall make our griefs and clamor roar upon his death?

Sounds of wristwatch tick ticking abruptly stops.

MACBETH
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 false heart does know.

Flames leap on stove.

DISSOLVE

LOWER MANHATTAN - INVERNESS MANOR PIER - NIGHT

Lens flare rims away to reveal Banquo and his young son, FLEANCE, strolling to the end of the pier.

BANQUO
How goes the night, son?

Fleance peers up into the overcast night sky. (Brooding clouds hide the stars.)

FLEANCE
The moon is down. I have not heard the clock.

BANQUO
And she goes down at twelve.

FLEANCE
I take’t, ’tis later, sir.

Banquo unclips his shoulder holster (with revolver) and hands it to his son to hold.

Banquo looks up to the heavens.

BANQUO
Their candles are all out.

Banquo unsheathes his switchblade and places it atop the gun in Fleance’s open hand.

Banquo stifles a yawn.

BANQUO
And yet I would not sleep. Merciful powers, restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature gives way to in repose.

Sounds of approaching footsteps creaking on wooden planks. Banquo cocks his head as he reaches for his revolver. Then spins and aims as a beam of torch light blasts into his face.

BANQUO
Who’s there?

Beat.

MACBETH (OFF)
A friend.

Banquo lowers his guard. Macbeth beams the torch light into Fleance’s face.

BANQUO
What, sir, not yet at rest? The king’s a-bed. He has been in unusual pleasure, and sent forth great largess to your offices.

Banquo reaches into his pocket, retrieves a small black leather drawstring pouch and tosses it to Macbeth.

BANQUO
This diamond he greets your wife, most kind hostess.

MACBETH
Being unprepared, our will became the servant.

BANQUO
All’s well.

Macbeth’s SERVANT stands aside.

Banquo and Macbeth step out to the end of the pier.

BANQUO
I dreamt last night of the three weird. To you they have show’d some truth.

Beat.

MACBETH
I think not of them.

Macbeth turns to leave, then turns back again.

MACBETH
Yet, when we can entreat an hour, we would spend it in some words upon that business, if you would grant the time.

BANQUO
At your kind’st leisure.

MACBETH
If you shall cleave to my consent, it shall make honor for you.

BANQUO
So I lose none in seeking to augment it, but still keep my heart franchised and allegiance clear, I shall be counsell’d.

MACBETH
Good repose the while!

BANQUO
Thanks, sir, the like to you!

Banquo and Fleance start back towards the manor.

Macbeth turns to his Servant and hands him the small black pouch.

MACBETH
Go bid your mistress when my drink is ready, she strike upon the bell. Get to bed.

Servant returns to the manor.

Macbeth stands at the end of the pier, lost in thought at the lapping waves.

Sounds of steel blading.

Macbeth turns slowly and sees a straight razor lying on the pier. Black handle towards him, pointing to the manor.

Sounds of steel blading reverberates as blade pivots open.

Macbeth falls to both knees. Leans forward and snatches at it desperately, yet clutches nothing but empty air.

MACBETH
I have you not, and yet I see you still. Are you not, fatal vision, sensible to feeling as to sight?

Macbeth closes his eyes, tightly.

MACBETH
Or are you but a dagger of the mind, a false creation?

Macbeth opens his eyes with a fright as the straight razor begins to tremble.

MACBETH
You marshall’st me the way that I was going. And such an instrument I was to use. My eyes are made fools o’ the other senses, or else worth all the rest?

Blood weeps along the blade’s keen edge.

Straight razor moves silently towards the manor.

Macbeth stands and follows it silently towards the manor. (No foley, no footsteps, no creaking planks.)

Macbeth is drawn towards the manor as if pulled by invisible hands.

Sounds of manor bell ringing distant.

Back of Macbeth as pier a-lines back into horizon.

MACBETH (V/O)
I go, and it is done, the bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan, for it is the knell that summons you to heaven, or to hell.

WIPE DISSOLVE

LOWER MANHATTAN - INVERNESS MANOR HALLWAY - NIGHT

Back of Lady Macbeth as long hallway a-lines back into a pall of gloom. She licks her lip. Sounds of crickets crying.

LADY MACBETH (V/O)
That which has made them drunk has made me bold. What has quench’d them has given me fire.

Sounds of owl shrieking.

LADY MACBETH (V/O)
Hark! Peace!

Sounds of wings flapping into the soiled night.

LADY MACBETH (V/O)
It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bellman.

Lady Macbeth peers down the hallway into the darkness.

LADY MACBETH (V/O)
He is about it. The doors are open, and the surfeited grooms do mock their charge with snores. I have drugg’d their possets, so death and nature contend about them.

Macbeth’s voice shadows into the hallway.

MACBETH (OFF)
Who’s there? What, ho!

LADY MACBETH (V/O)
Alack, I am afraid they have awaked, and ’tis not done. The attempt and not the deed confounds us. Hark! I laid their daggers ready, he could not miss ‘em.

Lady Macbeth covers her face with her hand.

LADY MACBETH (V/O)
Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I done’t.

Macbeth appears out of the darkness, panting.

LADY MACBETH
My husband!

Macbeth holds a straight razor in each hand, drenched in Duncan’s blood. Low voice. Fatalistic.

MACBETH
I have done the deed. Did you not hear a noise?

LADY MACBETH
I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry. Did you not speak?

MACBETH
When?

LADY MACBETH
Now.

MACBETH
As I descended?

Lady Macbeth nods. Macbeth looks around desperately.

MACBETH
Hark! Who lies i’ the second chamber?

LADY MACBETH
Donalbain.

Macbeth stares at his bloody hands. Low voice.

MACBETH
This is a sorry sight.

LADY MACBETH
A foolish thought, to say a sorry sight.

Macbeth glances back over his shoulder.

Beat.

MACBETH
There’s one did laugh in’s sleep, and one cried ‘Murder!’ that they did wake each other. I stood and heard them. But they said their prayers, and again to sleep.

LADY MACBETH
There are two lodged together.

MACBETH
One cried ‘God bless us!’, and ‘Amen!’ the other, as they saw me with these hangman’s hands. Listening their fear, I could not say ‘Amen!’

Beat.

LADY MACBETH
Consider it not so deeply.

MACBETH
But why could I not pronounce ‘Amen’? I had most need of blessing -- and ‘Amen’ stuck in my throat.

LADY MACBETH
These deeds must not be thought after these ways, or, it will make us mad.

MACBETH
I thought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep’. Macbeth closes his eyes.

MACBETH
Innocent sleep, balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, chief nourisher in life’s feast --

LADY MACBETH
What do you mean?

MACBETH
Still it cried ‘Sleep no more!’ to all the house.

LADY MACBETH
Who was it that cried?

MACBETH
‘Glamis hath murder’d sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep no more.’

LADY MACBETH
Why, worthy thane, you unbend your noble strength, to think so brainsickly things.

Lady Macbeth grabs his hands, upholds them.

LADY MACBETH
Go get some water, and wash this filthy witness from your hand. Why did you bring these daggers from the place? They must lie there. Go carry them, and smear the sleepy grooms with blood.

MACBETH
I’ll go no more.

Beat.

MACBETH
I am afraid to think what I have done. I dare not look on’t again.

LADY MACBETH
Infirm of purpose! Give me the daggers! The sleeping and the dead are but pictures. It’s the eye of childhood that fears a painted devil. If he do bleed, I’ll gild the faces of the grooms within, for it must seem their guilt.

Lady Macbeth hastens down the hallway into the gloom with bloody straight razors in hand. Sounds of distant knocking.

MACBETH
Where is that knocking?

Macbeth holds up his bloody hands, shocked and appalled.

MACBETH
What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out my eyes. Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, my hand will rather make the green seas red.

Sounds of approaching footsteps as Lady Macbeth returns.

LADY MACBETH
My hands are of your colour, but I shame to wear a heart so white.

Sounds of distant knocking.

LADY MACBETH
I hear a knocking at the south entry. Retire we to our chamber. A little water clears us of this deed. How easy is it, then!

Sounds of more knocking. Lady Macbeth scorns her husband.

LADY MACBETH
Your constancy has left you unattended.

Sounds of louder knocking.

LADY MACBETH
Hark! more knocking. Get on your nightgown, lest occasion call us, and show us to be watchers. Be not lost so poorly in your thoughts.

Macbeth scoffs. (More to himself.)

MACBETH
To know my deed, ‘twere best not know myself.

Sounds of still louder knocking as Lady Macbeth flees.

MACBETH
Wake Duncan with your knocking! I would you could!

Macbeth follows his wife away.

CUT ON KNOCK

LOWER MANHATTAN - INVERNESS MANOR SOUTH GATE - NIGHT

PORTER teeters towards the gate, drunk. Swills from whisky bottle. (Knocking builds to pounding, like a heartbeat. Louder and louder.)

PORTER
Here’s a knocking indeed! If a man were porter of hell-gate, he should turn old turning the key.

Sounds of knocking.

Porter mimes as if he is hell’s porter between mouthfuls of whisky.

PORTER
Knock, knock, knock! Who’s there, i’ the name of Beelzebub?

Porter shuffles amid his shadows. Tugs at his shirt collar.

PORTER
Here’s a farmer, that hanged himself on the expectation of plenty. Come in, have napkins enow about you. Here you’ll sweat for’t.

Sounds of knocking, beating.

PORTER
Knock, knock! Who’s there, in the other devil’s name? Faith, here’s an equivocator, that could swear both scales against either scale. Who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven. O, come in, equivocator.

Sounds of knocking, pulsing.

PORTER
Knock, knock, knock! Who’s there? Faith, here’s an English tailor come hither, for stealing of a French hose. Come in, tailor, here you may roast.

Sounds of knocking, pulsating.

PORTER
Knock, knock! Never at quiet! What are you? But this place is too cold for hell. I’ll devil-porter it no further. I had thought to have let in some of all professions that go to the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire. Anon, anon!

Porter opens gate, holding his hand out for a tip.

PORTER
I pray you, remember the porter.

Macduff and Lennox step in.

Macduff sheathes his machete and sees the Porter is drunk.

MACDUFF
Friend, ere you went to bed, that you lie so late?

PORTER
‘Faith sir, we were carousing till the second cock. And drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things.

Macduff winks at Lennox, amused.

MACDUFF
What three things?

PORTER
Nose-painting, sleep, and urine.

Porter scratches his crutch.

PORTER
Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes. It provokes desire, but takes away performance. Therefore, much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery. It makes him, and mars him. It sets him on, and takes him off. It persuades him, and disheartens him. Makes him stand to, and not stand to.

MACDUFF
Is your master stirring?

Macbeth approaches clad in a long silk dressing gown.

MACDUFF
Our knocking has awaked him.

LENNOX
Good morrow, noble sir.

MACBETH
Good morrow, both.

MACDUFF
Is the king stirring, worthy thane?

Beat

MACBETH
Not yet.

MACDUFF
He did command me to call timely on him. I have almost slipp’d the hour.

MACBETH
I’ll bring you to him.

MACDUFF
I know this is a joyful trouble to you. But yet ’tis one.

MACBETH
The labor we delight. This is the door.

Macbeth points to the long hallway leading to Duncan.

MACDUFF
I’ll make so bold to call, for ’tis my limited service.

Macduff strides into the hallway and down into the gloom.

LENNOX
Goes the king to-day?

MACBETH
He does, he did appoint so.

LENNOX
The night has been unruly. Where we lay, our chimneys were blown down. And, they say, lamentings heard i’ the air. Strange screams of death, and prophesying with accents terrible of dire combustion and confused events new hatch’d to the woeful time. Some say, the earth was feverous.

MACBETH
’Twas a rough night.

LENNOX
My young remembrance cannot parallel it.

Macduff runs back in, whirling. Heaving and screaming.

MACDUFF
O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart cannot conceive nor name it!

MACBETH & LENNOX
What!

MACDUFF
Confusion now has made his masterpiece!

Macduff howls.

MACDUFF
Most sacrilegious murder has broke ope the Lord’s anointed temple, and stole hence the life o’ the building!

MACBETH
What is ’t you say? The life --

LENNOX
Mean you his majesty?

MACDUFF
Approach the chamber, and destroy your sight. Do not bid me speak. See, and then speak yourselves.

Macbeth and Lennox race into the darkness. Macduff shrieks.

MACDUFF
Awake, awake! Ring the alarum-bell. Murder and treason! Banquo and Donalbain! Malcolm! Awake! Shake off this downy sleep, death’s counterfeit, and look on death itself!

Macduff wails.

MACDUFF
Up, up, and see the great doom’s image! Malcolm! Banquo! As from your graves rise up, and walk like sprites, to countenance this horror! Ring the bell!

Sounds of bell peal, pealing.

Lady Macbeth rushes in, clutching her dressing gown to her throat.

LADY MACBETH
What, that such hideous calls parley the sleepers of the house?

Lady Macbeth glares at Macduff.

LADY MACBETH
Speak, speak!

Macduff is sobbing.

MACDUFF
O gentle lady, ’tis not for you to hear what I speak. The repetition, in a woman’s ear, would murder as it fell.

Banquo rushes in, clad in night clothes.

MACDUFF
O Banquo, Banquo, our royal master ’s murder’d!

LADY MACBETH
What, in our house?

BANQUO
Too cruel any where. Dear Macduff, pray, contradict yourself and say it is not so. Macbeth and Lennox stagger out of the gloom, ashen.

MACBETH
Had I but died an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessed time. For, from this instant, there ’s nothing serious in mortality. All is but toys. Renown and grace is dead. The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees left.

Malcolm and Donalbain rush in, clad in night clothes.

DONALBAIN
What is amiss?

MACBETH
You are, and do not know’t.

Lennox weeps.

MACBETH
The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood is stopp’d. The very source of it is stopp’d.

MACDUFF
Your royal father’s murder’d.

MALCOLM
By whom?

LENNOX
Those of his chamber, it seem’d, had done’t. Their hands and faces were badged with blood. So were their daggers, which unwiped we found upon their pillows.

Lennox stifles his tears.

LENNOX
They stared, and were distracted. No man’s life was to be trusted with them.

MACBETH
O, I do repent my fury, that I did kill them.

Macduff cannot believe his ears.

MACBETH
Who can be wise, amazed, temperate and furious, loyal and neutral, in a moment?

Malcolm and Donalbain look to each other.

MACBETH
No man. The expedition of my violent love outrun reason.

Macbeth replays the scene before his own eyes.

MACBETH
Here lay Duncan, his silver skin laced with his golden blood. And his gash’d stabs look’d like a breach in nature.

Macbeth spins.

MACBETH
There the murderers, steep’d in the colors of their trade, their daggers breech’d with gore.

Beat.

MACBETH
Who could refrain, that had a heart to love, and in that heart courage to make’s love known?

Lady Macbeth sways and faints to the floor.

Macduff drops to her aid, followed by Banquo, Lennox and Macbeth.

Malcolm and Donalbain step back, furtive.

MALCOLM
Why do we hold our tongues so most may claim this argument?

DONALBAIN
What should be spoken here, where our fate, hid in an auger-hole may rush and seize us? Let ’s away. Our tears are not yet brew’d.

MALCOLM
Nor our strong sorrow.

SERVANTS step in and carry Lady Macbeth away. Banquo faces Lennox and Macbeth with a shiver.

BANQUO
Let us meet when we have our frailties hid, and question this most bloody piece of work. Fears and scruples shake us.

Banquo steels himself.

BANQUO
In the great hand of God I stand. And hence against the undivulged pretence I fight treasonous malice.

MACDUFF
And so do I.

MACBETH & LENNOX & BANQUO
So all.

MACBETH
Let’s briefly put on readiness, and meet i’ the hall together.

MACDUFF & LENNOX & BANQUO
Well contented.

Macbeth, Macduff, Lennox and Banquo rush off. Malcolm holds back his twin brother.

MALCOLM
What will you do?

Donalbain is unsure.

MALCOLM
Let’s not consort with them. To show an unfelt sorrow is an office which the false man does easy.

Beat.

MALCOLM
I’ll to New England.

DONALBAIN
To Ireland, I.

Malcolm checks his wristwatch.

DONALBAIN
Our separated fortune shall keep us both the safer. Where we are, there’s daggers in men’s smiles.

Donalbain looks hard at his twin.

DONALBAIN
The near in blood, the nearer bloody.

MALCOLM
This murderous shaft that’s shot has not yet lighted, and our safest way is to avoid the aim.

Malcolm checks his wristwatch again.

MALCOLM
When there’s no mercy left, there’s warrant in theft which steals itself.

Malcolm and Donalbain go their separate ways.

DISSOLVE

LOWER MANHATTAN - INVERNESS MANOR SOUTH GATE - DARK DAWN

Outside the gate Ross confides with an OLD MAN in a wooden wheelchair. The looming sky hangs dark and dank and low.

OLD MAN
Threescore and ten I can remember well. Within the volume of which time I have seen hours dreadful and things strange. But this sore night has trifled former knowings.

ROSS
Ah, you see the heavens, as troubled with man’s act, threaten his bloody stage.

Ross glances at his wristwatch.

ROSS
By the clock, ’tis day, and yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp. Is’t night’s predominance, or the day’s shame, that darkness does the face of earth entomb when living light should kiss it?

OLD MAN
’Tis unnatural, like a falcon, towering in her pride of place, hawk’d at and kill’d by an owl.

ROSS
And Duncan’s horses -- a thing most strange and certain -- beauteous and swift, the minions of their race, turn’d wild in nature. Broke their stalls, flung out. Contending ‘gainst obedience, as they would make war with mankind.

OLD MAN
’Tis said they eat each other.

ROSS
They did so, to the amazement of my eyes...

Ross looks up to see Macduff approaching.

ROSS
Good Macduff, how goes the world now, sir?

MACDUFF
Why, see you not?

ROSS
Is’t known who did this more than bloody deed?

MACDUFF
Those that Macbeth has slain.

ROSS
Alas, the day! What good could they pretend?

MACDUFF
They were suborn’d.

Ross looks alarmed.

MACDUFF
Malcolm and Donalbain, the king’s two sons, are stol’n away and fled. Which puts upon them suspicion of the deed.

ROSS
‘Gainst nature still!

Ross looks astounded.

ROSS
Thriftless ambition wilt up its own means!

Ross suddenly realizes the import.

ROSS
Then ’tis most like the sovereignty will fall upon Macbeth.

MACDUFF
He is already named, and gone to be invested.

ROSS
Where is Duncan’s body?

MACDUFF
Carried to the sacred storehouse of his predecessors, guardian of their bones.

ROSS
Will you to Macbeth?

MACDUFF
No, cousin, I’ll to New England.

ROSS
Well, I will.

MACDUFF
Well, may you see things well done there, adieu!

Ross turns to the Old Man.

ROSS
Farewell, father.

OLD MAN
God’s benison go with you, and with those that would make good of bad, and friends of foes!

Ross and Macduff go their separate ways.

DISSOLVE

MIDTOWN - FORRES PLAZA HOTEL PENTHOUSE - EVENING

Banquo pours himself a gin on the rocks at the large bar. A deep blood red sunset weeps in through lacerated clouds.

Banquo swallows bitterly.

MACBETH (V/O)
Thou hast it now.

Banquo wanders around the penthouse overloaded with luxury.

BANQUO (V/O)
King, Cawdor, Glamis, all, as the weird promised, and, I fear, you play’dst most foully for’t. Yet it was said it should not stand in your posterity, but that myself should be the root and father of many kings.

Banquo drains his drink. Sounds of approaching crowd.

BANQUO (V/O)
If there come truth from them -- as upon you, Macbeth, their speeches shine -- why, by the verities on you made good, may they not be my oracles as well, and set me in hope?

Large double doors burst open as Macbeth sweeps in, black leather topcoat swirling in his wake. (Cigar fuming between his lips.)

Lady Macbeth is queen. Lennox, Ross, Crime Lords, Ladies, Bodyguards and Attendants follow in tow.

All in heightened merriment from too much drinking.

All more than a little depraved. (All now dressed in black, not brown.) Macbeth clamors at Banquo.

MACBETH
Here’s our chief guest.

LADY MACBETH
If he had been forgotten, it had been a gap in our great feast, an all-thing unbecoming.

MACBETH
To-night we hold a solemn supper sir, and I’ll request your presence.

BANQUO
Let your highness command upon me, to which my duties are with a most indissoluble tie for ever knit.

MACBETH
Ride you this afternoon?

BANQUO
Yes, my good lord.

MACBETH
We should have desired your good advice, both grave and prosperous, in this day’s council. But we’ll take to-morrow.

Macbeth lays his arm over Banquo’s shoulder. (The King’s imperial gold signet ring now bands Macbeth’s finger.)

MACBETH
Is’t far you ride?

BANQUO
As far, my lord, as will fill up the time ‘twixt this and supper. I must become a borrower of the night for a dark hour or two.

MACBETH
Fail not our feast.

Beat.

BANQUO
My lord, I will not.

MACBETH
We hear our bloody cousins are bestow’d in New England and in Ireland, not confessing their cruel parricide, filling their hearers with strange invention. But of that to-morrow, when we shall have cause of state craving us jointly. Adieu, till you return at night.

Macbeth remembers one last thing.

MACBETH
Goes Fleance with you?

BANQUO
Yes, my good lord.

Banquo checks his wristwatch.

BANQUO
Our time does call upon ’s.

MACBETH
I wish you swift and sure.

Macbeth looks away with a heavy heart.

Beat.

MACBETH
Farewell.

Banquo exits as Macbeth pronounces an announcement as he wanders to the large windows that look out onto Central Park.

MACBETH
Let every man be master of his time till seven at night. To make society the sweeter welcome, we will keep ourself till supper-time alone. Till then, God be with you!

Everyone exits, save for a single SERVANT by the doors.

Macbeth calls him without turning his gaze out a window to the street far below.

MACBETH
A word with you.

Macbeth points down to two lone men on the sidewalk below.

MACBETH
Attend those men our pleasure?

SERVANT
They do, my lord.

Macbeth smiles strangely.

MACBETH
Bring them before us.

Servant exits briskly.

Macbeth fingers the king’s gold ring on his hand, distracted.

Macbeth broods into his own reflection in the glass.

MACBETH (V/O)
To be thus is nothing...

Central Park and the city beyond ebbs out into the oncoming night.

MACBETH (V/O)
...but to be safely thus...

Macbeth frets.

MACBETH (V/O)
Our fears in Banquo stick deep, and in his royalty of nature reigns that which would be fear’d. ’Tis much he dares,

Macbeth recollects.

MACBETH (V/O)
There is none but he whose being I do fear. And, under him, my genius is rebuked. He chid when first they put the name of king upon me, and bade them speak to him. Then prophet-like they hail’d him father to a line of kings.

Macbeth harries.

MACBETH (V/O)
Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, and put a barren sceptre in my gripe, hence to be wrench’d with an unlineal hand, no son of mine succeeding. If ’t be so, for Banquo’s issue have I filed my mind --

Macbeth shuts his eyes, tight.

MACBETH (V/O)
For them the gracious Duncan have I murder’d -- put rancors in the vessel of my peace only for them --

Macbeth drops his face into his hands.

MACBETH (V/O)
And my eternal jewel given to the common enemy of man, to make them kings, the seed of Banquo kings!

Macbeth looks up, mean and hateful and malevolent.

MACBETH (V/O)
Rather than so, come fate into the list. And champion me to the utterance!

Distant sounds of elevator ping and doors gasping open.

MACBETH
Who’s there!

Servant returns through the open doors with the men from below. It’s the FIRST MURDERER and the SECOND MURDERER. Macbeth looks to the Servant.

MACBETH
Go till we call.

Servant exits. Macbeth looks to the Murderers.

MACBETH
Was it not yesterday we spoke together?

FIRST MURDERER
It was, so please your highness.

MACBETH
Well then, have you consider’d my speech? Know that it was he in times past which held you so under fortune, which you thought had been my innocent self.

Macbeth picks up a small framed photograph of him and Banquo from years earlier. They stand side by side as best friend, arms bound around each other’s shoulders, smiling and pleased.

Macbeth smashes out the glass and grabs out the photo. (Blood seeps from a gashed finger.)

MACBETH
Pass’d how you were borne in hand, how cross’d, the instruments, who wrought them, and all things else that to half a soul and to a notion crazed say ‘This did Banquo.’

Macbeth tears the photo in half, ripping both men apart. Hands First Murderer the severed Banquo with a soft smile.

FIRST MURDERER
You made it known to us.

MACBETH
Do you find your patience so predominant in your nature that you can let this go?

Macbeth takes the moral high ground.

MACBETH
Are you so gospell’d to pray for this good man and for his issue, whose heavy hand has bow’d you to the grave and beggar’d yours for ever?

FIRST MURDERER
We are men, my liege.

MACBETH
Yes, in the catalogue you go for men. As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs, shoughs, water-rugs and demi-wolves, are clept all by the name of dogs --

Macbeth lips his bleeding finger.

MACBETH
The valued file distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle, the housekeeper, the hunter. Every one according to the gift which bounteous nature has in him.

Macbeth smirks.

MACBETH
And so of men.

Macbeth leans close.

MACBETH
Now, if you have a station not i’ the worst rank of manhood, say ’t. And I will put that business in you -- whose execution takes your enemy off -- grapples you to the heart and love of us. Who wear our health but sickly in his life, which in his death were perfect.

Second Murderer steps forward.

SECOND MURDERER
I am one, my liege, whom the vile blows and buffets of the world have so incensed that I am reckless to spite it.

FIRST MURDERER
And I another so weary with disasters, tugg’d with fortune, that I would set my life on any chance, to mend it, or be rid on’t.

MACBETH
Both of you know Banquo was your enemy.

BOTH MURDERERS
True, my lord.

MACBETH
So is he mine, and in such bloody distance, that every minute of his being thrusts against my near’st of life.

Macbeth looks regal.

MACBETH
And though I could with barefaced power sweep him from my sight and bid my will avouch it, yet I must not. For certain friends that are both his and mine, whose loves I may not drop.

Macbeth looks imperious.

MACBETH
And hence it is, that I to your assistance, masking the business from the common eye for sundry weighty reasons.

SECOND MURDERER
We shall, my lord, perform what you command us.

FIRST MURDERER
Though our lives --

MACBETH
Your spirits shine through you.

Macbeth checks his wristwatch.

MACBETH
Within this hour at most I will advise you where to plant yourselves. For’t must be done to-night. And someplace from the palace. I require a clearness.

Macbeth looks hard.

MACBETH
And with him -- leave no rubs nor botches in the work -- Fleance his son, whose absence is no less material to me than his father’s, must embrace the fate of that dark hour.

Macbeth dismisses both Murderers.

MACBETH
Resolve yourselves apart.

Macbeth turns back to gaze out the large window.

MACBETH
I’ll come to you anon.

BOTH MURDERERS
We are resolved, my lord.

Both Murderers leave. Macbeth does not turn around.

MACBETH (V/O)
It is concluded. Banquo, your soul’s flight, if it find heaven, must find it to- night.

Macbeth looks past his reflection into the impending night.

MIDTOWN - FORRES PLAZA HOTEL PENTHOUSE HALLWAY - EVENING

Lady Macbeth stands before another SERVANT.

She holds a crystal glass of red wine in hand.

LADY MACBETH
Is Banquo gone from court?

SERVANT
Yes, madam, but returns again to-night.

LADY MACBETH
Say to the king I would attend his leisure for a few words.

SERVANT
Madam, I will.

Servant nods and heads to the closed double doors at the end of the hallway.

Lady Macbeth looks spent, doubtful as she approaches the penthouse.

Servant exits.

LADY MACBETH
Now, my lord, why do you keep alone? Making companions of your sorriest fancies, thinking thoughts which should indeed have died?

Lady Macbeth fills her crystal glass from the large bar.

LADY MACBETH
Things without remedy should be without regard. What’s done is done.

MACBETH
We have scotch’d the snake, not kill’d it. She’ll close herself, whilst our malice remains in danger of her tooth.

Macbeth clenches his fist, tight.

MACBETH
But let things disjoint, both worlds suffer. ‘Ere we will eat our meal in fear and sleep in the affliction of terrible dreams that shake us nightly. Better be with the dead, whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace, than on the torture of the mind.

Lady Macbeth lights a candle encased in a red crystal bowl.

MACBETH
Duncan is in his grave. He sleeps well. Treason has done his worst. Nor steel, nor poison, malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing can touch him further.

Lady Macbeth places the red crystal bowl by the large windows. (The flame stretches and dances to life.)

LADY MACBETH
Come, gentle my lord, sleek o’er your rugged looks.

Lady Macbeth brushes his face with the back of her hand.

LADY MACBETH
Be bright and jovial among your guests to-night.

MACBETH
So shall I, love. And so, I pray, be you. Let your remembrance apply to Banquo. Present him eminence, both with eye and tongue.

Macbeth smiles.

MACBETH
We must lave our honours in these flattering streams. And make our faces vizards to our hearts, disguising what they are.

LADY MACBETH
You must leave this.

MACBETH
O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!

Macbeth looks at Lady Macbeth.

MACBETH
You know’st that Banquo, and his Fleance, lives.

Lady Macbeth looks cool and sinister.

MACBETH
There’s comfort yet. They are assailable. So be jocund.

Macbeth tries vainly to laugh with false humour.

MACBETH
‘Ere the night’s yawning peal, there shall be done a deed of dreadful note.

Lady Macbeth moves to speak as Macbeth places two silent fingers to her lips. (Strains of a haunting waltz creep in.)

MACBETH
Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest one, till you applaud the deed.

Macbeth strokes her cheek and leads her into a slow waltz.

MACBETH
Come, sealing night, scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day. And with your bloody and invisible hand cancel and tear to pieces that which keeps me pale!

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth waltz round.

MACBETH
Light thickens, good things of day begin to drowse, while night’s black agents prey.

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth waltz round and round.

MACBETH
You marvell’st at my words. But hold you still. Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth waltz round and round and round.

MACBETH
Go with me.

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth kiss deep as they whirl.

MIDTOWN - CENTRAL PARK CARPARK - DUSK

About a mile from the entrance to the hotel.

Two Murderers are looking straight at us.

Second Murderer spits hard. First Murder wipes his mouth with the back of his hand.

FIRST MURDERER
But who did bid you join us?

THIRD MURDERER’S right arm is missing from the elbow.

THIRD MURDERER
Macbeth.

SECOND MURDERER
He needs not our mistrust, since he delivers our offices and what we have to do.

Third Murderer stands his ground. (Dead eyes.)

FIRST MURDERER
Then stand with us. The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day.

Sounds of footsteps on gravel. Third Murderer hears it.

THIRD MURDERER
Hark!

BANQUO (OFF)
Give us a light there, eh!

SECOND MURDERER
Then ’tis he. The rest within expectation already are i’ the court.

Murderers hide behind parked cars as Banquo and Fleance enter. Fleance strikes a match to Banquo’s cigarette.

THIRD MURDERER
’Tis he.

First Murderer steps out, revolver drawn.

FIRST MURDERER
Stand to’t.

Banquo draws on the cigarette and exhales into the darkening sky.

Second Murderer and Third Murderer step out to surround him on all sides, revolvers drawn.

BANQUO
It will be rain to-night.

FIRST MURDERER
Let it come down.

Murderers open fire on Banquo. Blast and blast away.

BANQUO
Aaaahhh, treachery!

Fleance runs low and fast, scatters. Bullets rain down.

BANQUO
Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! You must revenge.

Banquo’s dying words expire.

BANQUO
O slave...

First Murderer rubs out Banquo’s smoking cigarette with the heel of his boot.

Flips out switchblade, drops to one knee, pulls up Banquo’s grotesquely lolling head by a clump of hair matted with blood and slices the throat from ear to ear.

THIRD MURDERER
There’s but one down, the son is fled.

SECOND MURDERER
We have lost half of our affair.

FIRST MURDERER
Well, let’s away, and say how much is done.

MIDTOWN - FORRES PLAZA HOTEL BANQUET HALL - NIGHT

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth kiss deeper as they whirl surrounded by Ross, Lennox, Crime Lords and Attendants.

All in high spirits. All clad in black.

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth break their kiss as music reverberates away. All cheer.

Macbeth looks magnanimous.

MACBETH
You know your own degrees, sit down. At first and last the hearty welcome.

CRIME LORDS
Thanks to your majesty.

MACBETH
Ourself will mingle with society, and play the humble host.

Macbeth motions his wife to take her seat at the main table.

MACBETH
Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time we will require her welcome.

LADY MACBETH
Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends, for my heart speaks they are welcome.

First Murderer steals in unseen. Macbeth smiles at his wife.

MACBETH
See, they encounter you with their hearts’ thanks.

Macbeth spots the murderer.

Macbeth fills his own glass, then beckons Servants and Waiters to fill drinks all round.

MACBETH
Be large in mirth. Anon we’ll drink the table round.

Macbeth swallows hard, then approaches the murderer at the open door.

MACBETH
There’s blood on your face.

First Murderer smudges it away with the back of his hand.

FIRST MURDERER
’Tis Banquo’s then.

MACBETH
’Tis better without you than within he.

Macbeth looks to his celebrating guests.

MACBETH
Is he dispatch’d?

FIRST MURDERER
My lord, his throat is cut. That I did for him.

MACBETH
You are the best o’ the cut-throats. Yet he’s good that did the like for Fleance. If you did it, you are the nonpareil.

First Murderer looks down.

FIRST MURDERER
Most royal sir, Fleance is ‘scaped.

Macbeth grimaces to himself.

MACBETH
Then comes my fit again. I had else been perfect, as broad and general as the casing air. But now I am cabin’d, cribb’d, confined, bound in to doubts and fears.

Macbeth stares at the First Murderer. (Doubt and misery.)

MACBETH
But Banquo’s safe?

FIRST MURDERER
Yes, my good lord. Safe in a ditch he bides. With twenty trenched gashes on his head, the least a death to nature.

MACBETH
Thanks for that. There the grown serpent lies. The one that’s fled, in time will venom breed, has no teeth for the present.

Macbeth returns to the large table.

MACBETH
Go. To-morrow we’ll hear ourselves again. First Murderer steals away.

LADY MACBETH
My royal lord, you do not give the cheer.

Macbeth looks at his wife lovingly through the crowd.

But does not see Banquo’s Ghost full bodied (and bloodied) take Macbeth’s seat next to her.

Macbeth smiles at his wife.

MACBETH
Sweet remembrancer!

Macbeth addresses all.

MACBETH
Now, good digestion wait on appetite, and health on both!

LENNOX
May’t please your highness sit.

MACBETH
Here had we now our honor roof’d, were the graced person of our Banquo present.

Macbeth makes his way through the crowd taking their seats.

MACBETH
Who may I rather challenge for unkindness than pity for mischance! Ross calls out from the large table.

ROSS
His absence, sir, lays blame upon his promise. Please’t your highness to grace us with your royal company.

Macbeth peers through the crowd and sees the table is full. (He can see the back of Banquo’s Ghost in his own chair, though no one else can.)

MACBETH
The table’s full.

Lennox motions the seat with Banquo’s Ghost.

LENNOX
Here is a place reserved, sir.

MACBETH
Where?

LENNOX
Here, my good lord.

Macbeth puts his hand on the shoulder of Banquo’s Ghost. Recoils when Banquo’s Ghost looks up, wounds weeping. Macbeth stumbles back onto the floor, spilling his red wine.

LENNOX
What is’t?

MACBETH
Which of you have done this?

CRIME LORDS
What, my good lord?

Banquo’s Ghost stands and points straight at Macbeth with his right hand. (His left is clasped around his neck, blood slopping between his fingers from the open wound.)

MACBETH
You can not say I did it. Never shake your gory locks at me.

ROSS
Gentlemen, rise. His highness is not well.

Lady Macbeth stands.

LADY MACBETH
Sit, worthy friends. My lord is often thus, and has been from his youth. Pray you, keep seat. The fit is momentary. Upon a thought he will again be well.

Lady Macbeth is all smiles, straining.

LADY MACBETH
If much you note him, you shall offend him and extend his passion. Feed, and regard him not.

Lady Macbeth drop to her knees to her husband’s side, scorn rising as she hisses in his ear.

LADY MACBETH
Are you a man?

MACBETH
Yes, and a bold one, that dare look on that which might appal the devil.

LADY MACBETH
O proper stuff!

Lady Macbeth looks straight through Banquo’s Ghost

LADY MACBETH
This is the very painting of your fear. This is the air-drawn dagger which, you said, led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts, impostors to true fear.

Lady Macbeth seethes.

LADY MACBETH
Shame itself! Why do you make such faces? When all’s done, you look but on a stool.

MACBETH
Pray, see there! Behold! Look! Lo! How say you?

Lady Macbeth sees nothing. Macbeth lambasts Banquo’s Ghost.

MACBETH
Why, what care I? If you can nod, speak too.

Banquo’s Ghost grins (just like in the photo) and vanishes before Macbeth’s eyes between the guests making their way back to their seats. (Banquo’s Ghost doesn’t dissolve, but passes into the crowd.)

Lady Macbeth accuses Macbeth.

LADY MACBETH
What, quite unmann’d in folly?

MACBETH
If I stand here, I saw him.

LADY MACBETH
For shame!

Macbeth undertones to himself.

MACBETH
Blood has been shed ‘ere now. Yes, and since too, murders have been perform’d too terrible. Times have been, that, when the brains were out, the man would die, and there an end. But now they rise again, more strange than murder.

Macbeth shivers.

LADY MACBETH
My worthy lord, your noble friends do lack you.

Macbeth comes back to his senses.

MACBETH
I do forget...

Macbeth stands with glass in hand.

MACBETH
Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends. I have an infirmity, which is nothing to those that know me.

Beat.

MACBETH
Come, love and health to all.

Macbeth motions his glass.

MACBETH
Give me some wine, fill full.

Red wine flows. Banquo’s Ghost reappears from behind Macbeth. (No one sees him, not even Macbeth.)

MACBETH
I drink to the general joy.

Banquo’s Ghost appears closer behind Macbeth.

MACBETH
And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss. Would he were here! To all, and him, we thirst.

Macbeth holds his glass aloft.

MACBETH
And all to all.

CRIME LORDS
Our duties.

Macbeth turns face to face with Banquo’s Ghost which only he sees. Macbeth screams. (Blood spoiling.)

MACBETH
Quit my sight! Let the earth hide you!

Banquo’s Ghost silently coughs up a mouthful of blood.

MACBETH
Your bones are marrowless, your blood is cold. You have no speculation in those eyes which you do glare with!

Lady Macbeth stands again.

LADY MACBETH
Think of this, good peers, but as a thing of custom. ’Tis no other. Only spoils the pleasure of the time.

Macbeth tries to stare down Banquo’s Ghost.

MACBETH
What man dare, I dare.

Macbeth looks Banquo’s Ghost up and down.

MACBETH
Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves shall never tremble. Or be alive again, and dare me to the desert with your sword. If trembling I inhabit then, protest me a baby girl.

Macbeth whips out two revolvers and rushes into Banquo’s Ghost. (Crime Lords tumble out of the way.)

MACBETH
Hence, horrible shadow! Unreal mockery, hence!

Banquo’s Ghost passes into the melée. Macbeth looks around, suddenly becalmed. Macbeth looks to his guests.

MACBETH
Pray you, sit.

LADY MACBETH
You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting, with most admired disorder.

MACBETH
Can such things be, and overcome us like a summer’s cloud, without our special wonder?

Macbeth looks to Lady Macbeth as she looks away.

MACBETH
You make me strange -- even to the disposition that I owe -- when I think you can behold such sights and keep the natural ruby of your cheeks, when mine is blanched with fear.

ROSS
What sights, my lord --

LADY MACBETH
I pray you, speak not. He grows worse and worse. Question enrages him.

Lady Macbeth stands and addresses all.

LADY MACBETH
At once, good night. Stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once.

Guests gather up and leave hastily. (Hushed murmurs.)

LENNOX
Good night, and better health attend his majesty!

LADY MACBETH
A kind good night to all!

Lady Macbeth closes the huge doors at the end of the banquet hall behind everyone.

MACBETH
It will have blood. They say, blood will have blood. Stones have been known to move and trees to speak the secret’st man of blood.

Macbeth checks his wrist by habit. (Wristwatch is missing.)

Beat.

MACBETH
What is the night?

LADY MACBETH
Almost at odds with morning.

MACBETH
How say you, that Macduff denies his person at our great bidding?

LADY MACBETH
Did you send to him, sir?

MACBETH
I hear it by the way, but I will send. There’s not a one of them I do not keep a servant fee’d.

Macbeth drains his glass of wine.

MACBETH
I will to-morrow to the weird. For now I am bent to know, by the worst means, the worst. For my own good, all causes shall give way.

Macbeth fills his glass again.

MACBETH
I am in blood stepp’d so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er. Strange things I have in head, that will to hand.

LADY MACBETH
You lack the season of all natures, sleep.

MACBETH
Come, we’ll to sleep. My strange and self- abuse is the initiate fear that wants hard.

They go off hand in hand.

MACBETH
We are yet but young in deed.

Sounds of distant thunder broiling closer.

MIDTOWN - FORRES PLAZA HOTEL UNDERGROUND CARPARK - NIGHT

A CRIME LORD and Lennox stand amongst the parked cars. Both in black.

Lennox adjusts his hat. His voice is laced with sarcasm.

LENNOX
Things have been strangely borne. Who cannot want the thought how monstrous it was for Malcolm and for Donalbain to kill their gracious father? Damned fact!

Crime Lord nods.

LENNOX
How it did grieve Macbeth! Did he not straight in pious rage tear the two that were the slaves of drink and thralls of sleep? Was not that nobly done? Yes, and wisely too. For ‘twould have anger’d any heart alive to hear the men deny’t.

Beat.

LENNOX
He has borne all things well.

Lennox checks his revolver.

LENNOX
And I do think that had he Duncan’s sons under his key -- as, an’t please heaven, he shall not -- they should find what ‘twere to kill a father.

Beat.

LENNOX
So should Fleance.

Crime Lord shakes his head, lowly.

LENNOX
But, peace! From broad words and ‘cause he fail’d his presence at the tyrant’s feast, I hear Macduff lives in disgrace.

CRIME LORD
The son of Duncan, from whom this tyrant holds the due of birth lives in the New English court, and is received with such grace that nothing takes from his high respect.

Crime Lord looks around.

CRIME LORD
Macduff is gone to pray upon his aid to wake Northumberland and warlike Siward. That, by the help of these -- with Him above to ratify the work -- we may again give to our tables meat, sleep to our nights. Free from our feasts and banquet’s bloody knives.

Lennox looks troubled.

CRIME LORD
And this report has so exasperated Macbeth that he prepares for war.

LENNOX
Sent he for Macduff?

CRIME LORD
He did. And with an absolute ‘Sir, not I!’ The cloudy messenger turns his back, as who should say ‘You’ll rue the time that clogs me with this answer.’

LENNOX
And that well might advise him to a caution, to hold what distance his wisdom can provide.

Lennox looks like the sky is about to fall in.

LENNOX
Some holy angel fly to the court of New England and unfold his message that a swift blessing may soon return to this our suffering under a hand accursed!

CRIME LORD
I’ll send my prayers with him.

LOWER MANHATTAN - ABANDONED CHURCH - LATE NIGHT 

Sounds of heavy knocking on church doors.

Wind wisps dust every which way. Dust devils scurry across the floor.

Three Witches speak as one and resound everywhere and nowhere at once.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
Thrice the brinded cat hath mew’d. Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined. Harpier cries ’Tis time, ’tis time.

Sounds of heavy knocking reverberate in the empty church.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes. Open, locks, whoever knocks!

Locks unhinge by themselves. Macbeth spills into the church, revolver drawn. Door slams hard behind him.

MACBETH
-- secret, black, and midnight! What is’t you do?

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
A deed without a name.

MACBETH
I conjure you, by that which you profess, howe’er you come to know it, answer me.

Silence echoes.

MACBETH
Though the treasure of nature tumble all together, even till destruction sicken, answer me to what I ask you.

Macbeth falls to his knees.

Beat.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
Speak. Demand. We’ll answer.

Sounds of baying wind.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
Say, if thou’dst rather hear it from our mouths, or from our masters?

MACBETH
Call ‘em. Let me see ‘em.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
Come, high or low, thyself and office deftly show!

Lightning and thunder burst out. First Apparition arises from the wasted floorboards by gathering dust into the form of a capsized fedora.

MACBETH
Tell me, you unknown power --

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
He knows thy thought. Hear his speech, but say thou nought.

Failing voice of the First Apparition seems to rise from below the floorboards, from hell itself.

FIRST APPARITION
Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff. Beware the thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.

First Apparition crumbles into dust and sinks back into the floorboards.

MACBETH
Whate’er you are, for your good caution, thanks. You have harp’d my fear aright. But one word more --

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
He will not be commanded. Here’s another, more potent than the first.

Double lightning and thunder erupts. Second Apparition arises from the floor by sweeping dust into the form of a capsized swaddling cloth spattered with blood.

Gasping voice of the Second Apparition continues to rise from below the floorboards, from hell itself.

SECOND APPARITION
Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth!

Macbeth moves to cover his ears.

SECOND APPARITION
Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.

Second Apparition turns into dust and descends back into the floorboards. Macbeth crows.

MACBETH
Then live, Macduff. What need I fear of you? Beat.

MACBETH
But yet I’ll make assurance double sure, and take a bond of fate. You shall not live. That I may tell pale-hearted fear it lies, and sleep in spite of thunder.

Triple lightning and thunder explodes. Third Apparition arises from the floor by swirling dust into the form of a capsized bough.

MACBETH
What is this that rises like the issue of a king?

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
Listen, but speak not to’t.

Dying voice of the Third Apparition carries through the floorboards.

THIRD APPARITION
Be lion-mettled, proud; and take no care who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are. Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until great woods to high hill shall come against him.

Third Apparition fluxes back into the floorboards.

MACBETH
That will never be.

Macbeth cackles.

MACBETH
Who can impress the forest, bid the tree unfix his earth-bound root? Sweet bodements! Good!

Macbeth rises to his feet.

MACBETH
Rebellion’s head, rise never till the woods rise, and our high-placed Macbeth shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath to time and mortal custom.

Macbeth looks high into the vaulted ceiling.

MACBETH
Yet my heart throbs to know one thing. Tell me, if your art can tell so much – shall Banquo’s issue ever reign in this kingdom?

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
Seek to know no more.

MACBETH
I will be satisfied.

Macbeth triggers back his revolver with the palm of his hand. Screams into the vaulted ceiling overhead.

MACBETH
Deny me this, and an eternal curse fall on you! Let me know.

Macbeth fires off three shots into the ceiling. Dust blurs into his eyes.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
Show! Show! Show! Show his eyes, and grieve his heart, come like shadows, so depart!

Macbeth palms his eyes as eight black and white photographs curl from the dust on the floorboards.

All are portraits of Banquo’s descendants. (Young men with rounded glasses and long black leather topcoats.)

Macbeth scrambles to his knees and grabs one.

MACBETH
You are too like the spirit of Banquo.

More black and white photographs emerge from the dust. More portraits of Banquo’s descendants.

MACBETH
Down!

Macbeth frantically snatches a second photograph, then a third.

MACBETH
And your hair, your other gold-bound brow, is like the first. A third is like the former.

Macbeth looks around to the voices, pleads.

MACBETH
Why do you show me this?

Macbeth desperately lunges for a fourth photograph, then a fifth.

MACBETH
A fourth! Start, eyes! What, will the line stretch out to the crack of doom?

Macbeth furiously seizes a sixth photograph, then a seventh.

MACBETH
Another yet! A seventh! I’ll see no more.

Macbeth scatters the photographs on top of dozens more emerging from the floorboards.

MACBETH
And yet --

One photograph rises above the others. Macbeth takes it slowly. (It’s the torn photo of Banquo he had given to the murderers.)

MACBETH
Horrible sight! Now, I see, ’tis true.

Apparitions dissolve away one at a time. First those on the floor, then the torn photo Macbeth holds in his hand.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
Ay, sir, all this is so. But why stands Macbeth thus amazedly?

Macbeth is lost in dire thoughts.

THREE WITCHES (OFF)
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites, and show the best of our delights. I’ll charm the air to give a sound, while you perform your antic round. That this great king may kindly say, our duties did his welcome pay.

Sounds of vicious winds buffeting the deserted church.

MACBETH
Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour stand accursed!

Church doors creak ajar. Macbeth aims his gun to entrance.

MACBETH
Come in, without there!

Doors opens stiffly and Lennox steps in with revolver drawn. Immediately lowers weapon when he spots Macbeth.

LENNOX
What’s your grace’s will?

MACBETH
Saw you the weird?

LENNOX
No, my lord.

MACBETH
Came they not by you?

LENNOX
No, indeed, my lord.

MACBETH
Infected be the air whereon they ride, and damn’d all those that trust them!

Macbeth returns his weapon into his shoulder holster as he staggers to his feet.

MACBETH
Who was’t came by?

LENNOX
’Tis two or three, my lord, that bring you word Macduff is fled to New England.

MACBETH
Fled to New England!

LENNOX
Yes, my good lord.

Macbeth laughs to himself.

MACBETH
Time, you anticipat’st my dread exploits. Flighty purpose never is o’ertook unless the deed go with it.

Macbeth redraws his revolver.

MACBETH
From this moment the very firstlings of my heart shall be the firstlings of my hand.

Macbeth checks cylinder.

MACBETH
Be it thought and done.

Macbeth slips bullets into chamber.

MACBETH
Macduff I will surprise. Seize upon his wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line.

Macbeth slams cylinder back into place.

MACBETH
This deed I’ll do before this purpose cool.

Macbeth thumbs back trigger. Turns to Lennox.

MACBETH
Where are these gentlemen? Come, bring me where they are.

Both leave fast.

UPTOWN - MACDUFF’S MANOR - NIGHT

LADY MACDUFF and Ross are in deep discussion. Both dressed in black.

Lady Macduff’s right arm is in a black sling, wrist bandaged.

Her fair haired young SON is also dressed in black. He plays with a tiny wind up tin toy bird.

Beat.

LADY MACDUFF
What had he done, to make him fly the land?

ROSS
You must have patience, madam.

LADY MACDUFF
He had none. His flight was madness. When our actions do not, our fears do make us traitors.

ROSS
You know not whether it was his wisdom or his fear.

LADY MACDUFF
Wisdom! To leave his wife, to leave his babes, his mansion and his titles in a place from where himself does fly? He loves us not. He wants for the natural touch. For the most diminutive of birds, will fight -- her young ones in her nest -- against the owl.

Ross looks perplexed.

LADY MACDUFF
All is the fear and nothing is the love. As little wisdom, where the flight so runs against all reason.

ROSS
My dearest cousin, I pray you, school yourself. For your husband is noble, wise, judicious, and best knows the fits o’ the season. I dare not speak much further...

Ross turns to leave, then turns back again.

ROSS
But cruel are the times, when we are traitors and do not know ourselves. When we hold rumour from what we fear, yet know not what we fear, but float wild and violent.

Ross takes Lady Macduff’s left hand, and kisses it lovingly.

ROSS
I take my leave of you. Shall not be long but I’ll be here again. Things at the worst will cease, or else climb upward. Blessing upon you!

Lady Macduff looks at her young Son.

LADY MACDUFF
Father’d he is, and yet fatherless.

ROSS
I am so much a fool. Should I stay longer, it would be my disgrace and your discomfort. I take my leave at once.

Ross exits.

LADY MACDUFF
Son, your father’s dead. And what will you do now? How will you live?

SON
As birds do, mother.

LADY MACDUFF
What, with worms and flies?

SON
With what I get, I mean, and so do they.

LADY MACDUFF
Poor bird! You’d never fear the net nor lime, the pitfall nor the gin.

SON
Why should I, mother? Poor birds are not set for.

Son winds up his little tin toy bird.

SON
My father is not dead, for all your saying.

LADY MACDUFF
Yes, he is dead. How will you do for a father?

SON
No, how will you do for a husband?

LADY MACDUFF
Why, I can buy me twenty at any market.

SON
Then you’ll buy ‘em to sell again.

LADY MACDUFF
You speak’st with all your wit. And yet, i’ faith, with wit enough for me.

SON
Was my father a traitor, mother?

LADY MACDUFF
That he was.

SON
What is a traitor?

LADY MACDUFF
Why, one that swears and lies.

SON
And be all traitors that do so?

LADY MACDUFF
Every one that does so is a traitor, and must be hanged.

SON
And must they all be hanged that swear and lie?

LADY MACDUFF
Every one.

SON
Who must hang them?

LADY MACDUFF
Why, the honest men.

SON
Then the liars and swearers are fools. For there are liars and swearers enow to beat the honest men and hang them.

LADY MACBETH
Now, God help me, poor monkey! But how will you do for a father?

SON
If he were dead, you’d weep for him. If not, it were a good sign that I should quickly have a new father.

LADY MACDUFF
Poor prattler, how you talk!

Telephone rings urgently. Lady Macduff lifts the receiver.

MALE CALLER
(through phone)
Bless you, fair dame! I am not known to you, though in your honour I am perfect. Danger does approach you nearly. Be not found here. Hence, with your little ones.

Lady Macduff gasps.

MALE CALLER
(through phone)
To fright you thus, methinks, I am too savage. To do worse were fell cruelty. Heaven preserve you! I dare abide no longer.

Sounds of MALE CALLER abruptly hanging up. Lady Macduff drops the handset, frightened. (Sounds of dead line intones in the background.)

LADY MACDUFF
Where should I fly? I have done no harm.

Lady Macduff considers her words.

LADY MACDUFF
But I am in this earthly world, where to do harm is often laudable, to do good sometime dangerous folly.

Lady Macduff flees to the door.

LADY MACDUFF
Why then do I put up that womanly defence to say I have done no harm?

First Murderer, Second Murderer and Third Murderer block her path as they saunter in.

Lady Macduff looks bewildered.

FIRST MURDERER
Where is your husband?

LADY MACDUFF
I hope, in no place so unsanctified where such as you may find him.

FIRST MURDERER
He’s a traitor.

SON
You lie, you shag-hair’d villain!

FIRST MURDERER
What, you egg!

First Murderer stabs him hard in the heart.

FIRST MURDERER
Young fry of treachery!

First Murderer twists the blade deeper into the young Son as blood flays.

Toy bird falls from his young hand, tin wings flapping.

SON
Mother! Run away, I pray you!

Young Son dies.

Lady Macduff struggles to run away as the Murderers pounce on her like mad dogs.

LADY MACDUFF
Murder! Murder! Murder!!

Toy bird on floor as tin wings flutter briefly, then stop.

COUNTRY - NEW ENGLAND ESTATE - SUNSET

Sounds of birds calling, nature flowing.

Malcolm and Macduff stroll the grounds still dressed in brown topcoats.

MALCOLM
Let us seek some desolate shade, and there weep our sad hearts empty.

MACDUFF
Let us rather hold fast, and like good men bestride our down-fall’n birthdom.

Macduff thinks of Manhattan.

MACDUFF
Each new morn new widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows strike heaven on the face.

MALCOLM
What I believe, wail. What I know, believe. And what I can redress, I will. Malcolm acts diplomatic.

MALCOLM
What you have spoke, it may be so perchance. This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues, was once thought honest. You have loved him well. He has not touch’d you yet.

Malcolm doesn’t meet Macduff eye to eye.

MALCOLM
I am young. You may deserve of him through me. To offer up a weak poor innocent lamb to appease an angry god.

MACDUFF
I am not treacherous.

MALCOLM
But Macbeth is. A good and virtuous nature may recoil in an imperial charge.

Macduff looks forlorn.

MALCOLM
But I shall crave your pardon. My thoughts cannot transpose what you are. Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.

MACDUFF
I have lost my hopes.

MALCOLM
Perchance there I did find doubts. Why leave you wife and child? Those precious motives, those strong knots of love, without leave-taking?

Macduff looks shocked.

MALCOLM
I pray you, let not my jealousies be your dishonors, but my own safeties. You may be rightly just, whatever I shall think.

MACDUFF
Bleed, bleed, poor kingdom!

Macduff storms off.

MACDUFF
Fare you well, lord. I would not be the villain that you think for the whole space that’s in the tyrant’s grasp.

Malcolm calls Macduff back.

MALCOLM
Be not offended.

Macduff halts.

MALCOLM
I speak not as in absolute fear of you. I think our kingdom sinks beneath the yoke. It weeps, it bleeds. And each new day a gash is added to her wounds.

Macduff turns.

MALCOLM
I think there would be hands uplifted in my right, and here from gracious New England I have offer of goodly thousands.

Macduff returns to Malcolm.

MALCOLM
But, for all this, when I shall tread upon the tyrant’s head, my poor kingdom shall have more vices than before.

More suffer and more sundry ways than ever, by him that shall succeed.

MACDUFF
What should he be?

MALCOLM
It is myself I mean.

Malcolm sighs as Ladies wander in the distance.

MALCOLM
In whom I know all the particulars of vice so grafted that, when they be open’d, black Macbeth will seem as pure as snow, and the poor state esteem him as a lamb, compared with my confineless harms.

MACDUFF
Not in the legions of horrid hell can come a devil more damn’d in evils to top Macbeth.

MALCOLM
I grant him bloody, luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful, sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin that has a name.

Malcolm breathes.

MALCOLM
But there’s no bottom -- none -- in my voluptuousness.

Malcolm looks away.

Beat.

MALCOLM
Your wives, your daughters, your matrons and your maids, could not fill up the cistern of my lust, and my desire would o’erbear all that did oppose my will.

MALCOLM
Better Macbeth than such to reign.

MACDUFF
Boundless intemperance in nature is a tyranny. It has been the untimely emptying and fall of many kings.

Macduff is realistic.

MACDUFF
But fear not yet to take upon you what is yours. You may convey your pleasures in spacious plenty, and yet hoodwink time.

Macduff laughs as New England Crime Lords mill closer.

MACDUFF
We have willing dames enough. There cannot be that vulture in you, to devour so many as will to greatness dedicate themselves.

Malcolm moves closer to Macduff.

MALCOLM
With this there grows in my most ill-composed affection such a stanchless avarice that, were I king, I should cut off the nobles for their lands, desire his jewels and this other’s house.

Malcolm beams.

MALCOLM
And my more-having would make me hunger more, so I should forge unjust quarrels against the good and loyal, destroying them for wealth.

MACDUFF
This avarice sticks deeper. Grows with more pernicious root than summer-seeming lust, and has been the sword of our slain kings.

Macduff attempts to reassure Malcolm.

Beat.

MACDUFF
Yet do not fear, all these are portable with other graces weigh’d.

MALCOLM
But I have none...

MALCOLM
The king-becoming graces -- as justice, verity, temperance, stableness, bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness, devotion, patience, courage, fortitude -- I have no relish of them.

Malcolm simpers.

MALCOLM
No, had I power, I should pour the sweet milk of concord into hell. Uproar the universal peace. Confound all unity on earth.

Macduff shakes his head. (Oh, fuck!)

MACDUFF
O kingdom! Kingdom!

MALCOLM
If such a one be fit to govern, speak. I am as I have spoken.

MACDUFF
Fit to govern! No, not to live. O kingdom miserable! With an untitled tyrant bloody-scepter’d, when shall you see your wholesome days again.

Macduff riles up.

MACDUFF
Since the truest issue of your throne by his own interdiction stands accursed, and does blaspheme his breed? Fare you well! These evils you repeat’st upon yourself have banish’d me from the kingdom.

Macduff flies off.

MACDUFF
O heart, my hope ends here!

Malcolm grabs Macduff by the arm. Macduff stops. Beat.

MALCOLM
Macduff, your noble passion -- child of integrity -- has from my soul wiped the black scruples, reconciled my thoughts to your good truth and honor.

Malcolm is sincere.

MALCOLM
Devilish Macbeth by many of these trains has sought to win me into his power, and modest wisdom plucks me from over-credulous haste.

Macduff is not convinced.

MALCOLM
But God above deal between you and me! Here abjure the taints and blames I laid upon myself, for strangers to my nature.

Malcolm laughs innocently.

MALCOLM
I am yet unknown to woman, never was forsworn, scarcely have coveted what was mine own, at no time broke my faith, would not betray the devil to his fellow and delight no less in truth than life.

Macduff laughs softly.

MALCOLM
My first false speaking was this upon myself. What I am truly, is yours and my poor kingdom’s to command. Indeed, before you here-approach, Old Siward, with ten thousand warlike men, already at point was setting forth.

Macduff does not reply.

MALCOLM
Now we’ll together. And the chance of goodness be like our warranted quarrel! Why are you silent?

MACDUFF
Such welcome and unwelcome things at once ’tis hard to reconcile.

SURGEON approaches dressed in a brown suit with bag in hand.

MALCOLM
Well, more anon --

Malcolm addresses the Surgeon.

MALCOLM
Comes the New England king you?

SURGEON
Yes, sir, there are a crew souls that stay his cure. Surgeon looks to the palatial manor. Their malady convinces the forth, I pray of wretched great assay of art, but at his touch -- such sanctity has heaven given his hand -- they presently amend.

MALCOLM
I thank you, doctor.

Surgeon leaves towards the manor.

MACDUFF
What disease?

MALCOLM
’Tis call’d the evil.

Malcolm looks towards the manor.

MALCOLM
A most miraculous work in this good king. Which often, since my here-remain in New England, I have seen him do.

Macduff looks towards the manor.

MALCOLM
How he solicits heaven, himself best knows. But strangely-visited people, all swoln and ulcerous, pitiful to the eye - - the mere despair of surgery -- he cures.

Malcolm looks awed.

MALCOLM
Hanging a golden stamp about their necks, put on with holy prayers. And ’tis spoken, to the succeeding royalty he leaves the healing benediction. With this strange virtue, he has a heavenly gift of prophecy, and sundry blessings hang about his throne that speak him full of grace.

Ross enters clad in black. Macduff looks pleased.

MACDUFF
See, who comes here?

MALCOLM
I know him not.

MACDUFF
My ever-gentle cousin, welcome hither.

MALCOLM
I know him now. Good God, betimes remove the means that makes us strangers!

ROSS
Sir, amen.

MACDUFF
Stands our kingdom where it did?

ROSS
Alas, almost afraid to know itself. It cannot be call’d our mother, but our grave. Where nothing, but who knows nothing, is seen to smile. Where sighs and groans and shrieks that rend the air are made, not mark’d. Where violent sorrow seems a modern ecstasy.

Malcolm looks grieved.

ROSS
And good men’s lives expire before dying or ‘ere they sicken.

MACDUFF
O, yet too true!

MALCOLM
What’s the newest grief?

ROSS
Each minute teems a new one.

MACDUFF
How does my wife?

ROSS
Why, well.

MACDUFF
And all my children?

ROSS
Well too.

MACDUFF
The tyrant has not batter’d at their peace?

ROSS
No. They were well at peace when I did leave ‘em.

Ross bites his bottom lip.

ROSS
There ran a rumor many worthy fellows were out. Which was witness’d, for I saw the tyrant’s power a-foot.

Ross looks at Malcolm.

ROSS
Now is the time of help. Your eye would create soldiers, make our women fight to doff their dire distresses.

MALCOLM
Be’t their comfort.

MESSENGER sprints in with telegram in hand. Ross tears it open and reads as Malcolm declares his intentions.

MALCOLM
We are coming. Gracious New England has lent us good Siward and ten thousand men. An older and a better soldier none that Christendom gives out.

Ross cries and crumbles the letter in his left hand.

ROSS
Would I could answer this comfort with the like! But I have words that would be howl’d out in the desert air, where hearing should not latch them.

MACDUFF
What concern they?

ROSS
No mind that’s honest. Though the main part pertains to you alone.

MACDUFF
If it be mine, keep it not from me. Quickly let me have it --

ROSS
Let not your ears despise my tongue for ever, which shall possess them with the heaviest sound that ever yet they heard.

Macduff blinks.

ROSS
Your home is surprised, your wife and babes savagely slaughter’d. To relate the manner, were to add the death of you.

Malcolm gasps.

MALCOLM
Merciful heaven!

Macduff blinks again.

Beat.

MALCOLM
What, man! Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the o’er- fraught heart and breaks it.

MACDUFF
My children too?

ROSS
Wife, children, servants, all that could be found.

MACDUFF
And I must be from hence! My wife kill’d too?

Ross looks down.

MALCOLM
Be comforted. Let’s make medicines of our great revenge, to cure this deadly grief.

MACDUFF
He has no children.

Macduff heaves.

MACDUFF
All my pretty ones? Did you say all? O hell-kite! All? What, all my pretty chicks and their dam at one fell swoop?

MALCOLM
Dispute it like a man.

MACDUFF
O, I shall do so. But I must also feel it as a man. I cannot but remember such things most precious to me. Did heaven look on, and would not take part?

Macduff weeps.

MACDUFF
Sinful Macduff, they were all struck for you! Not for their own demerits, but for mine, fell slaughter on their souls.

MALCOLM
Be this the whetstone of your sword. Let grief convert to anger. Blunt not the heart, enrage it.

Macduff palms away his tears.

MACDUFF
O, I could play the woman with my eyes!

Macduff draws out his machete and screams into the sky.

MACDUFF
But, gentle heavens, cut short all intermission. Front to front bring you this fiend and myself. Within my sword’s length set him. If he ‘scape, heaven forgive him too!

MALCOLM
Come, go we to the king. Our power is ready. Our lack nothing but our leave. Macbeth is ripe for shaking, and the powers above put on their instruments.

Malcolm, Macduff and Ross head rapidly toward the manor.

MALCOLM
Receive what cheer you may - the night is long that never finds the day.

MIDTOWN - FORRES PLAZA HOTEL ROYAL SUITE - EVENING

DOCTOR clad in white lab coat and NURSE in white uniform look onto a sleeping Lady Macbeth from an antechamber. (Lit by a flittering taper by her bedside.)

DOCTOR
I have two nights watched with you, but can perceive no truth in your report. When was it she last walked?

NURSE
Since his majesty went into the field, I have seen her rise from her bed, throw her night-gown upon her, unlock her closet, take forth paper, fold it, write upon’t, read it, afterwards seal it, and again return to bed. Yet all this while in a most fast sleep.

DOCTOR
In this slumbery agitation, besides her walking and other actual performances, what have you heard her say?

NURSE
That, sir, which I will not report.

DOCTOR
You may to me. And most you should.

NURSE
Neither to you nor any one, having no witness to confirm my speech.

Flittering light rises as Lady Macbeth arises from her bed. Lady Macbeth sleepwalks across her bedroom, taper in hand.

Doctor and Nurse press into the shadows against the wall.

NURSE
Lo you, here she comes! This is her very guise. And, upon my life, fast asleep. Observe her. Stand close.

DOCTOR
How came she by that light?

NURSE
Why, it stood by her. She has light by her continually, ’tis her command.

DOCTOR
You see, her eyes are open.

NURSE
Ay, but their sense is shut.

Lady Macbeth silently laves her hands in invisible water.

DUNCAN
What is it she does now? Look, how she rubs her hands.

NURSE
It is an accustomed action to seem thus washing her hands. I have known her continue this a quarter of an hour.

LADY MACBETH
Yet here’s a spot.

DOCTOR
Hark! she speaks.

Doctor retrieves his small notepad and jots down what she says. Scrambled memories pour out of Lady Macbeth.

LADY MACBETH
Out, damned spot! Out, I say! -- One Two Why, then, ’tis time to do’t -- Hell is murky! -- Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? -- Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.

Doctor looks at the Nurse, puzzled.

DOCTOR
Do you mark that?

LADY MACBETH
The thane had a wife. Where is she now? -- What, will these hands ne’er be clean? -- No more o’ that, my lord, no more o’ that. You mar all with this starting.

Doctor tries to dismiss the Nurse.

DOCTOR
Go to, go to. You have known what you should not.

NURSE
She spoke what she should not, I am sure of that. Heaven knows what she has known.

Lady Macbeth is smelling her right hand.

LADY MACBETH
Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!

DOCTOR
What a sigh is there! The heart is sorely charged.

NURSE
I would not have such a heart in my bosom for the dignity of the whole body.

DOCTOR
Well, well...

NURSE
Pray God it be, sir.

DOCTOR
This disease is beyond my practise. Yet I have known those which have walked in their sleep who have died holily in their beds.

LADY MACBETH
Wash your hands, put on your nightgown, look not so pale -- I tell you yet again, Banquo’s buried. He cannot come out on’s grave.

DOCTOR
Even so?

LADY MACBETH
To bed, to bed! There’s knocking at the gate. Come, come, come, come, give me your hand. What’s done cannot be undone -- to bed, to bed, to bed!

Lady Macbeth sleepwalks back towards her bed.

DOCTOR
Will she go now to bed?

NURSE
Directly.

Doctor and Nurse step out of the shadows. Doctor pockets his small notepad.

DOCTOR
Foul whisperings are abroad. Unnatural deeds do breed unnatural troubles. Infected minds will to deaf pillows discharge their secrets.

Doctor shakes his head.

DOCTOR
More needs she the divine than the physician.

Doctor opens his bag and retrieves a small bottle of tiny white pills.

DOCTOR
God, God forgive us all! Look after her. Remove from her the means of all annoyance, and still keep eyes upon her. So, good night. My mind she has mated, and amazed my sight. I think, but dare not speak.

Nurse exits.

NURSE
Good night, good doctor.

Doctor twists open the lid, shakes some pills into his palm and swallows them whole.

CENTRAL PARK - THE LOCH - NIGHT Full moon.

MENTEITH, CAITHNESS, Angus, Lennox and Gangsters gather close to the small waterfall near Huddleston Bridge. (Dressed in brown suits and checking their weapons.)

MENTEITH
The New English power is near, led on by Malcolm, his uncle Siward, and the good Macduff.

Lennox looks pleased.

MENTEITH
Revenges burn in them. For their dear causes would the grim alarm excite the mortified.

ANGUS - Near woods shall we well meet them.

CAITHNESS - Who knows if Donalbain be with his brother?

LENNOX
For certain, sir, he is not. I have a file of all the gentry. There is Siward’s son, and many youths.

MENTEITH
What does the tyrant?

CAITHNESS - Some say he’s mad. Others that lesser hate him call it valiant fury. But, for certain, he cannot buckle his distemper’d cause.

ANGUS - Now does he feel his secret murders sticking on his hands. Now does he feel his title hang loose about him. Those he commands move only in command, not in love.

MENTEITH
Who shall blame his pester’d senses to recoil and start, when all that is within him does condemn itself for being there?

CAITHNESS - Well, march we on, to give obedience where ’tis truly owed. Meet we the medicine of the sickly weal, and with him pour in our kingdom’s purge each drop of us.

LENNOX
Or so much as it needs, to dew the sovereign flower and drown the weeds. Make we our march towards the woods.

All exit in full force.

MIDTOWN - FORRES PLAZA HOTEL FOYER - NIGHT

Full moon.

Gangsters clad in black turbulently check their weapons.

Attendants scurry one way, Servants the other.

Macbeth is being injected by the Doctor. He screams at a long gone Messenger.

MACBETH
Bring me no more reports. Let them fly all.

Macbeth looks at the Doctor, manic.

MACBETH
Till woods remove to here, I cannot taint with fear. What’s the boy Malcolm? Was he not born of woman? The spirits that know all mortal consequences have pronounced thus ‘Fear not, Macbeth; no man that’s born of woman shall e’er have power upon thee.’

Macbeth fires off his revolver into the ceiling.

MACBETH
Then fly, false thanes, and mingle with the New English epicures. The mind I sway by and the heart I bear shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear.

SERVANT enters timidly, pale and scared.

MACBETH
The devil damn thee black, you cream-faced loon! Where got’st you that goose look?

SERVANT
There is ten thousand --

MACBETH
Geese, villain!

SERVANT
Soldiers, sir.

MACBETH
Go prick your face, and over-red your fear, you lily-liver’d boy.

Macbeth hurls him to the floor, rams a revolver in his face.

MACBETH
What soldiers? Death of your soul!

Your linen cheeks are counsellors to fear. What soldiers, whey-face?

SERVANT
The English force, so please you.

Macbeth looks low and dark and vile.

MACBETH
Take your face hence.

Servant scuttles away.

MACBETH
Seton! – I am sick at heart, when I behold --

Macbeth momentarily loses his thoughts.

MACBETH
Seton, I say! -- this push will cheer me ever, or disseat me now. I have lived long enough. My way of life is fall’n into the sear, the yellow leaf.

Macbeth starts wheezing.

MACBETH
And that which should accompany old age, as honor, love, obedience, troops of friends, I must not look to have. But, in their stead, curses. Not loud but deep.

Macbeth struggles to catch his breath.

MACBETH
Mouth-honor, breath, which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not. Seton!

SETON rushes in.

SETON
What is your gracious pleasure?

MACBETH
What news more?

SETON
All is confirm’d, my lord, as reported.

MACBETH
I’ll fight till from my bones my flesh be hack’d. Give me my armor.

SETON
’Tis not needed yet.

MACBETH
I’ll put it on. Send out more, skirr round, hang those that talk of fear. Give me my armor. How does your patient, doctor?

DOCTOR
Not so sick, my lord, as she is troubled with thick fancies that keep her from her rest.

MACBETH
Cure her of that.

Doctor coughs.

MACBETH
Canst you not minister to a mind diseased? Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow? Raze out the written troubles of the brain? And with some sweet oblivious antidote cleanse that perilous stuff which weighs upon the heart?

DOCTOR
Therein the patient must minister to themself.

MACBETH
Throw physic to the dogs. I’ll none of it.

Macbeth beckons Seton.

MACBETH
Come, put my armor on. Give me my staff. Seton, send out.

Macbeth looks hard at Doctor.

MACBETH
Doctor, the thanes fly from me.

Macbeth yells out to Seton impatiently.

MACBETH
Come, sir, dispatch.

Macbeth smiles weirdly at Doctor.

MACBETH
If you couldst, doctor, cast the water of my land, find her disease, and purge it to sound and pristine health, I would applaud you to the very echo. Then applaud again --

Seton struggles to fit the black bullet proof vest on Macbeth.

MACBETH
-- pull’t off, I say --

Macbeth nods frantically at Doctor.

MACBETH
What rhubarb, cyme, or what purgative drug, would scour these New English hence? Hear’st you of them?

DOCTOR
Yes, my good lord. Your royal preparation makes us hear something.

Macbeth snatches the tommy gun out of Seton’s hands. Screams at Seton to follow him with the bullet proof vest.

MACBETH
Bring it after me. I will not be afraid of death and bane, till woods come to me.

Macbeth and Seton storm off towards the elevators.

DOCTOR
Away and clear, profit again should hardly draw me here.

Doctor quickly leaves towards the revolving doors.

CENTRAL PARK - SHAKESPEARE GARDEN - NIGHT

Full moon.

Malcolm, SIWARD, YOUNG SIWARD, Macduff, Menteith, Caithness, Angus, Lennox, Ross and Gangsters dressed in brown approach to join forces with REBEL GANGSTERS.

Wind moans.

MALCOLM
Cousins, I hope the days are near at hand that chambers will be safe.

MENTEITH
We doubt it not.

MALCOLM
Let every soldier hew him down a bough and bear’t before him. Thereby shall we shadow our numbers and make discovery err in report of us.

Gangsters get hacking. (Even Macduff machetes a bough.)

SIWARD
We learn no other but the confident tyrant keeps still, and will endure our setting down before ’t.

MALCOLM
’Tis his main hope. For where there is advantage, both more and less have given him revolt, and none serve with him but constrained.

MACDUFF
Let our censures attend the true event.

SIWARD
The time approaches that will make us know what we shall have and what we owe. Thoughts speculative, but certain issue must arbitrate. Towards which advance the war.

All surge forward.

MIDTOWN - FORRES PLAZA HOTEL PENTHOUSE - LATE NIGHT

Full moon.

Macbeth looks to Seton as an electrical surge drones the lights. Gangsters in black stand guard.

MACBETH
Still the cry is ‘They come!’

Macbeth pours himself a red wine.

MACBETH
Our strength will scorn a siege. Let them lie till famine and ague eat them up. Were they not forced with those that should be ours, we might have met them dareful, and beat them backward home.

Sounds of women wailing.

MACBETH
What is that noise?

SETON
The cry of women, my good lord.

Seton exits. Macbeth prowls, distracted.

MACBETH
I have almost forgot the taste of fears. The time has been, my senses would have cool’d to hear a night-shriek. I have supp’d full with horrors. Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts, cannot start me.

Seton rushes back in.

MACBETH
Wherefore that cry?

Seton collapses to one knee, head bowed.

SETON
The queen, my lord, is dead.

Beat.

MACBETH
She should have died hereafter.

Beat.

MACBETH
There would have been a time for such a word.

Macbeth drifts into the fluttering light of the candle encased in the red crystal bowl by the window.

He gently picks it up.

MACBETH
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last syllable of recorded time. And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.

Macbeth looks into the shimmering flame.

MACBETH
Out, out, brief candle!

Macbeth hurls the candle across the room so it shatters.

MACBETH
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

MESSENGER bursts in. Macbeth steps into the half light.

MACBETH
You come to use you tongue. Your story quickly.

MESSENGER
Gracious my lord, I should report that which I saw, but know not how to do it.

MACBETH
Well, say, sir.

Beat.

MESSENGER
As I did stand my watch upon the hill, I look’d toward, and anon, methought, the wood began to move.

Macbeth steps into the full light, eyes blazing.

MACBETH
Liar and slave!

MESSENGER
Let me endure your wrath, if’t not be so. Within three mile may you see it coming. I say, a moving grove.

MACBETH
If you speak’st false, you shall hang alive till famine cling you. If your speech be sooth, I care not if you do for me as much.

Macbeth looks out the large windows onto Central Park where indeed he sees the woods approach.

Macbeth snatches up his tommy gun and rushes out to the elevator, black leather topcoat fluttering behind him.

MACBETH
Arm, arm, and out! There is nor flying hence nor tarrying here. Macbeth goes down with the elevator.

CENTRAL PARK - THE ARSENAL - LATE NIGHT

Full moon. Malcolm, Siward, Macduff and their army of Gangsters surge with boughs in hand. Wind howls.

MALCOLM
Now near enough. Your leafy screens throw down, and show like you are.

Malcolm singles out Old Siward.

MALCOLM
You, worthy uncle, shall, with my cousin, your right-noble son, lead our first battle. Worthy Macduff and we shall take upon ’s what else remains.

SIWARD
Fare you well. Do we but find the tyrant’s power to-night, let us be beaten.

Macduff undertones to himself.

MACDUFF
Make blood and death.

All press forward.

CENTRAL PARK - GAPSTOW BRIDGE - FALSE DAWN

Full moon shrouded by dark gray clouds.

Macbeth prowls with black leather topcoat flapping. Wind howls.

MACBETH
They have tied me to a stake, I cannot fly. I must fight the course. What’s he that was not born of woman? Such a one I am to fear, or none.

Young Siward enters. Macbeth doesn’t turn around.

YOUNG SIWARD
What is your name?

MACBETH
You’ll be afraid to hear it.

YOUNG SIWARD
No! Though you call yourself a hotter name than any in hell.

MACBETH
My name’s Macbeth.

YOUNG SIWARD
The devil himself could not pronounce a title more hateful to my ear.

MACBETH
No, nor more fearful.

YOUNG SIWARD
You lie, abhorred tyrant. I’ll prove the lie you speak’st.

Sounds of guns and revolvers blazing around.

Young Siward switches his switchblade. Macbeth flips his straight razor and savagely turns on Young Siward. Ferocious blading as Macbeth slashes Young Siward down for the kill. (Blood splays.)

Macbeth smiles, satisfied.

MACBETH
Born of woman.

Macbeth is seethed in blood as he wipes his straight razor clean against the cheek of the slain Young Siward.

MACBETH
Swords I smile at, weapons laugh, brandish’d by man of woman born.

Macbeth saunters into the woods.

Macduff steals through the woods, machete in hand.

MACDUFF
That way the noise. Tyrant, show your face! If you be slain with no stroke of mine, my wife and children’s ghosts will haunt me still. I cannot strike at wretched kerns, whose arms are hired to bear their staves.

WHIP PAN

Macduff clambers over dead bodies, turns one over in disgust.

MACDUFF
Either you, Macbeth, or else I sheathe again undeeded.

Sounds of guns blazing, tommy gun cackling.

MACDUFF
There you should be, by this great clatter. Let me find him, fortune! And more I beg not.

Macduff steals into the woods.

WHIP PAN

Malcolm and Siward slip through the woods, revolvers drawn.

SIWARD
This way, my lord. The tyrant’s people on both sides do fight. The noble thanes do bravely in the war. The day almost itself professes yours, and little is to do.

MALCOLM
We have met with foes that strike beside us.

Siward leads the way towards the Forres Plaza Hotel.

WHIP PAN

CENTRAL PARK - THE POND - DAWN

Jaded moon hangs low behind threatening black clouds. Macbeth stands at the water’s edge with his back to us, gazing into his reflection.

Right hand under the black leather topcoat unfurling behind him. Wind screams.

MACBETH
Why should I play the Roman fool, and die on my own sword? While I see lives, the gashes do better upon them.

Macduff steps in behind Macbeth, slowly lowering his machete.

MACDUFF
Turn, hell-hound, turn!

Macbeth recognizes Macduff’s voice, but does not turn to face his adversary.

MACBETH
Of all men else I have avoided you. But get you back. My soul is too much charged with blood of yours already.

MACDUFF
I have no words. My voice is in my sword. You’re bloodier villain than terms can out!

Macbeth slowly draws out his right hand from under his black leather topcoat to reveal he’s been holding onto his tommy gun all along.

Macduff stumbles back.

Macbeth presses the trigger. And the tommy gun -- jams.

Macduff swings out with his machete. Macbeth blocks the blade with the tommy gun.

Macduff and Macbeth battle it out in a frenzy.

MACBETH
You lose labor.

Macbeth cracks Macduff across the head with the tommy gun and sends him reeling (and bleeding) into the pond.

MACBETH
As easy may you impress the intrenchant air with your keen sword as make me bleed. Let fall your blade on vulnerable crests, I bear a charmed life, which must not yield to one of woman born.

MACDUFF
Despair your charm.

Beat.

MACDUFF
And let the angel whom you still serve tell you, Macduff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripp’d.

Beat.

MACBETH
Accursed that tongue that tells me so!

Macbeth wails into the heavens above.

MACBETH
For it has cow’d my better part of man! And be these juggling fiends no more believed, with double sense. That keep the word of promise to our ear, and break it to our hope.

Macbeth lets his tommy gun fall from his grip.

MACBETH
I’ll not fight you.

MACDUFF
Then yield, coward, and live to be the show. We’ll have you, as our rarer monsters are, painted on a pole, and underwrit, ‘Here may you see the tyrant.’

MACBETH
I will not yield, to kiss the ground before young Malcolm’s feet, and to be baited.

Macbeth throws off his bullet proof vest.

MACBETH
Though woods come to me, and you opposed, being of no woman born, yet I will try the last.

Macbeth flips open his straight razor.

MACBETH
Lay on, and damn’d be that first cries, ‘Hold, enough!’

Macbeth and Macduff pounce on each other like rabid animals. Wind squalls.

WHIP PAN

CENTRAL PARK - GRAND ARMY PLAZA - DAWN

Heavy clouds sunder as dawn’s first rays streak through.

Troops of battle weary Gangsters clad in brown swarm by Siward and Ross.

Crime Lords string Malcolm like pearls.

Flames lick out the top floors of Forres Plaza Hotel.

MALCOLM
I would the friends we miss were safe arrived.

SIWARD
Some must go. And yet, by these I see, so great a day as this is cheaply bought.

MALCOLM
Macduff is missing, and your noble son.

ROSS
Your son, my lord, has paid a soldier’s debt. He fought, but like a man he died.

SIWARD
Then he is dead?

ROSS
Yes, and brought off the field. Your cause of sorrow must not be measured by his worth, for then it has no end.

SIWARD
Had he his hurts afore?

ROSS
Yes, on the front.

SIWARD
Why then, God’s soldier be he! Had I as many sons as I have hairs, I would not wish them to a fairer death.

MALCOLM
He’s worth more sorrow.

SIWARD
He’s worth no more. They say he parted well, and paid his score. And so, God be with him!

Macduff appears drenched through. (He holds something ragged in his right hand.)

SIWARD
Here comes newer comfort.

Macduff holds Macbeth’s bloodied head aloft to Malcolm.

MACDUFF
Hail, king! for so you are. Behold, where stands the usurper’s cursed head. The time is free.

Malcolm stands tall, proud.

MACDUFF
I see you compass’d with your kingdom’s pearl, that speak my salutation in their minds. Whose voices I desire aloud --

Gray clouds waste away.

MACDUFF
Hail, King!

ALL
Hail, King!!

Blonde light shines in as sun rises over horizon.

MACDUFF
Hail, King!!

ALL
Hail, King!!!

Splendid rays of a new day pulse through and illuminate all in golden light.

MACDUFF
Hail, King!!!

ALL
Hail, King!!!!

FADE TO GOLD


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Copyright 2005 Stefano Boscutti

All Rights Reserved


No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing.

Stefano Boscutti acknowledges the trademark owners of various products referenced in this work. The publication or use of these trademarks is not authorised or sponsored by the trademark owner.

This is a work of fiction. While many of the characters portrayed here have counterparts in the life and times of King Macbeth of Scotland and others, the characterisations and incidents presented are totally the products of the author’s blood-stained imagination. This work is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It should not be resold or given away. Thank you for your support. (Couldn’t do it without you.)

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