Why is Macbeth a tragic hero

The axis of evil

backWith Margot Binder, Ingrid Höller, Stefan Lasko, Andreas Puehringer, Eckart Schönbeck
Director: Ioan C. Toma
stage: Erich Uiberlacker
Costumes: Walpurgi Helml
Lighting design: Erich Uiberlacker
Soundtrack: Wolfgang Fadi Dorninger
Premiere: 09.09.2004
Performance location: room

Richard3, the misshapen “bloody dog” from York, is the ideal type of criminal, the outstanding example of unscrupulousness. He subordinates all human needs to his plan to usurp the ruler's crown. He has the crystal clear intelligence, the calculated emotion, the cynical misanthropy. Women are ensnared and driven mad, friends and enemies are played like playing cards and shot down when they stand in the way of his goal. Richard takes the liberty of doing what he enjoys most in life: murder.

Macbeth is the ultimate tragic hero. Due to a prophecy, he kills the king in order to be king himself. And he continues to murder in order to secure his rule, greedily supported by Lady Macbeth. But the spilled blood is not so easy to wash off the soul, the dead get stuck in dreams. Macbeth becomes more and more entangled in a sleepless nightmare in which truth and lies, reality and fantasy, life and death become increasingly blurred.


The author and director Ioan Toma has brought together two of the great works by William Shakespeare, "Richard III" (1597) and "Macbeth" (1609), in his adaptation. The piece connects two incarnations of the criminal - the unrestrained butcher on the one hand, the doubter plagued by remorse on the other - to the axis of evil - v Richard3: Macbeth.

Two regicide united in their lust for power - a brutal exchange of blows and poetic soul-searching, freedom and fate, anarchy and hierarchy, comedy and tragedy in one evening.


Subject: Dini Hroß
© Christian Herzenberger
© Christian Herzenberger

Press reviews

Murder is the lust of the mighty

Silvia Nagl, OÖN, September 11, 2004

The season kick-off on Thursday at the Phönix Theater in Linz: With the world premiere of an imaginative arrangement and a breathtaking staging concept of the two William Shakespeare dramas “Macbeth” and “Richard III”.

Two hours of exhilarating and entertaining theater experience. Everything just fits, although the scenographer Ioan C. Toma has chosen a miserably long title for it, namely “The axis of evil (root from) Richard3: Macbeth. After Shakespeare by Toma "- hereinafter referred to as the play for short ...

What contributes to this exhilarating and extraordinary evening at the theater? A lot, of course. Above all, however, the memorable show play by an outstanding actor like Andreas Puehringer, who can be seen once again at the Phönix Theater. He is a stroke of luck for the stage as well as for this double role: As Macbeth as in his own cocoon of soul, as Richard III. behaving like an exalted Rumpelstiltskin. Posture, tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures, gaze - yes, even the flashing of the eyes - change suddenly as soon as he slips into the respective role.

Ioan C. Toma has developed a coherent, coherent and captivating directing concept, Erich Uiberlacker has balanced a congenial stage set, illuminated by a sophisticated lighting design, into the room: Up and down stairs, you always go towards power, you stumble over many corpses, the Opposing players are shot down like in a shooting gallery. Richard, the unscrupulous cripple, limps inexorably towards power. And Macbeth panting on a treadmill after his own superego and the royal crown.

Toma likes to use symbolism, suggests a lot, but does not overload. He knows exactly where the border between comedy and punch runs, knows exactly the point at which an actor as present as Puehringer is just allowed to "play" coquettishly with the audience. And with his fast-paced staging he is able to maintain concentration and tension in the audience for an evening at the theater.

From a mathematical point of view, Toma has filtered out the roots of both dramas for his piece: with a bold line and a clever reinterpretation. Nothing is missing to understand the historical and family history. The poetic, but also ironic language of the ingenious person who describes people, William Shakespeare, is conveyed clearly and distinctly.

Pleasing debut of the new ones

Walpurgi Helml caricatured the costumes in a few hints, otherwise simplicity and objectivity dominate. Wolfgang Dorninger's soundtrack plays an important role; his atmospheric clouds of sound accompany, illustrate and envelop the entire event.

Ingrid Höller as Lady Macbeth is a woman who stands behind her husband and who encourages, guides and seduces him to achieve top performance - in this case with murder. A strong woman with strong appearances.

New to the Phoenix ensemble and very pleasing at the first presentation: Margot Binder as fragile, also angry Lady Anne, in a truly great role as Richard's mother. Stefan Lasckovics and Eckart Schönbeck are quick, obedient, obsequious and assiduous in multiple roles.

Horny Shakespeare melange

Milli Hornegger, Krone, September 11, 2004

Andreas Puehringer in "Richard3: Macbeth" in the Linzer Phönix

"Richard3: Macbeth" - This formula stands for a new dimension of Shakespeare experiments in the Linz Phoenix Theater. Probably for the first time the two murderous monsters meet on stage. A wicked mélange with a fantastic Andreas Puehringer as the focal point.

Ioan C. Toma unraveled the two Shakespeare dramas, gutted them and puzzled them together to form the "axis of evil". Everything revolves around the two kings: Richard, a brilliant human manipulator, a cynic, in whom the murder rituals degenerate into a sensual villain game. Intoxication of blood and power as a substitute for someone from whom nature "withheld the strong body". Next to it Macbeth, the tragic hero who suffers agonies of soul and yet continues to murder.

Phoenix returning home Andreas Puehringer plays both of them - and how! He almost makes the uninhibited butcher Richard sympathetic, literally sending the power-hungry doubter Macbeth into the treadmill of remorse.

Director Ioan C. Toma lets blood flow and in between sprinkles nibbles with humor. And for the first time I experience the use of a video camera in the theater not only as absolutely conclusive, but downright masterful. An excellent team is gathered around the outstanding Andreas Puehringer: Stefan Lasczkovics is particularly popular as Buckingham, Eckart Schönbeck slips and dies in various roles, Ingrid Höller intrigues as Lady Macbeth, Margot Binder remains a little pale as Lady Anne, but she is allowed to act as Richard's mother literally made a grand entrance.

Fascinating look into the anatomy of evil

Birgit Thek, Neues Volksblatt, 09/11/2004

Phoenix Theater moves between Shakespeare's "Richard III." and "Macbeth" a successful "axis of evil"

Shakespeare looked like no other playwright into the depths of the human soul. Director Ioan C. Toma took the risk of capturing two of the poet's greatest villains in "The Axis of Evil" as he did his fusion of "Richard III." and calls it "Macbeth".

Brilliant double game in flickering alternation The Linzer Phönix is ​​always good for experiments - and Toma used the possibilities wisely. With convincing logic he intertwines the storylines, both of which are characterized by murder and greed for power. With different signs:

Richard III knows exactly what he wants when he clears his opponents out of the way without any inhibitions. But Macbeth hesitates between the desire for the throne and the shudder at the blood on his hands.

Andreas Puehringer masters the seamless change from one to the other with admirable bravura. With a diabolical smile, his physically and mentally crippled Richard turns the audience into confidants of his deadly intrigues. As Macbeth, he is driven on the treadmill - in the narrow cage of his torments of conscience, which become doubly clear as a projection of his facial features in close-up (just as set designer Erich Uibelacker differentiates the space for the two levels of action in an intelligent spatial manner).

Toma's staging is based not only on his leading actor and the timeless validity of Shakespeare. She creates haunting images such as the use of playing card figures for the slaughtered victims, without getting lost in dull actualisms. The collage condenses the wealth of figures in both works to four actors in several roles: Ingrid Höller, as Lady Macbeth the driving force at her husband's side and as Richard's hooker-like victim; Margot Binder as Lady Anne, who is unable to fully convey the rapid change from the grieving widow to the murderer's bed; Eckart Schönbeck et al. as a deluded Hastings; and Stefan Laszkovics, who especially made a name for himself with the Duke of Buckingham as Richard's cunning accomplice.

The applause from the audience at the premiere on Thursday evening particularly appreciated Puehringer and the successful production.

The axis of evil

Christine Dössel, Süddeutsche Zeitung, September 11, 2004

“Richard III” meets “Macbeth” at the Phönix Theater in Linz

Radical Evil: Where Does It Come From? Where is its origin? What is his land? These questions, which Hannah Arendt once asked, are also preoccupied by director Ioan C. Thoma at the Phönix Theater in Linz. Unlike Arendt, who claimed it had nothing to do with psychological - Macbeth - and characterological - Richard III. - Thoma traces the abysmal evil with the help of these two Shakespeare monsters and their different motivations. In his project “The Axis of Evil” he contrasts the two title characters in an extract version and pulls the roots out of “Richard 3: Macbeth”. The result is not the core of all evil, what Arendt referred to as the “super-sense and its absolute logic and consequence”, the result is just a murderous spectacle, a theatrical rogue show. Infinite injustice: Because the nasty is so fascinating.

For the premiere in Linz, Erich Uiberlacker built a black box stage in the small Phoenix Theater. Above it is a black canvas, lined with red variety light bulbs. The canvas is reserved for the regicide Macbeth. Whenever he struggles down on a fitness treadmill in a box between the steps, his face appears above in a colored video close-up. It is the face of a driven person who, kicking like a hamster in a running wheel, gets lost in his own nightmare. Macbeth is himself his greatest adversary. Once he has set the mechanism of killing in motion in order to become king, he must continue to kill compulsively in order to remain king. The original sin, the murder of Duncan, can no longer be resolved. It acts like a poison, it paralyzes and Macbeth makes the world appear as if in a fever. Andreas Puehringer's poetic monologues, which, despite all nihilism, are backed by remorse, have the strongest power in this performance. Here one suffers more in himself than in the world. Here the evil works back on the evil, and the theater dares a look into the abyss of man.

Fascinatingly cynical

Quite different with Richard III., The brilliant player who declares himself the villain by will and approaches every murder with pleasure and calculation. The director is so fascinated by this cynic that he doesn't even try to grasp him as a character, but is content with the assertion that Richard as a character has always brought with him. In the Richard scenes, for example, there is a director who enthusiastically chases after the villain as an exemplary type and celebrates amorality with a striking gesture: as a murder gag with cabaret and western shows, with radio announcements and playback singing. Cardboard comrades are riddled with holes, balloons are chopped up, corpses dumped. Andreas Puehringer, who switches back and forth between the two title villains in this short version of the double drama, merely caricatures Richard: as a one-armed crooked hump who commits all murders with his own hands and does not even have to offer anything like charm. The theater still pisses him off. In the end he remains the evil one from the root. It just happens that the bad wins.