As part of their supplementary programme for their hugely successful production of Macbeth, the Guildford Shakespeare Company made theatrical history on 20 February 2013 with the UK Premiere of The Tragedy of MacBeth Part II: The Seed of Banquo.
This sequel was penned in 2008 by American author Noah Lukeman after he concluded that Shakespeare had planted several seeds for a follow-up in the original play, including a hint from Lady Macbeth of a child she had bourn, the unfulfilled prophecy that Banquo’s descendants would come to reign over Scotland, and Donalbain’s flight to Ireland and non-return in the final conflict against Macbeth.
Unlike 18th century forger William Henry Ireland who tried to pass off his self-penned Vortigen and Rowena as a previously unknown work by Shakespeare, Lukeman has always made it perfectly clear that this is his personal extrapolation of potentially unresolved plot lines.
Enacted as a staged reading the sequel came to life within Guildford’s St Mary’s Church, a building dating back to the same time as the real events depicted in Shakespeare’s play.
In the scale of sequels this is certainly no The Godfather Part II but thankfully it’s no The Godfather Part III either. Once again framed by the prophecies of the Weird Sisters Macbeth II continues the threads of treachery, paranoia and bloodshed present in the original. Audience-pleasing moments include a second appearance by the Porter and the classic “something wicked this way comes” line.
It’d be fascinating to see Macbeth II come to life as a full scale production but whether any theatrical company would be willing to undertake such a big project remains to be seen.
Ultimately it was fun to be present for a moment of history.
More information on Macbeth II can be found on Noah Lukeman’s website here.