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The Daily Need

Tomorrow and tomorrow and … today!

Patrick Stewart is in the grip of destiny as Macbeth on Great Performances — a photo our designer instructed me to position "as you like it." Photo: Manuel Harlan/Illuminations TV - WNET.ORG

Shakespeare geeks across the country no doubt woke up this morning with the same thought in their heads that I did: Macbeth! Patrick Stewart! Tonight! Yay.

For those of us who clumsily managed to miss the live performance of this production in Brooklyn two years ago, its arrival on Great Performances feels like an act of grace, a second chance to see what The New York Times called a “good and nasty interpretation” of Shakespeare’s bleakest meditation on power, fate and evil. And ghosts! And witches! And floating things!

Speaking of geeks, few people who have written about Stewart’s turn as the bloody thane — and as another grabby-handed king in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of “Hamlet” — can resist mentioning that, though a veteran of the RSC, Stewart is known to wider audiences as Captain Picard from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” I am not only not going to resist it, but I want to point out some other curious meetings of Shakespeare and, um, Star Trek. (I have to do something until 9 tonight.)

For example, the linguist who invented the Klingon language for Paramount Studios is now the president of the board of the Washington Shakespeare Company, which presented a nightful of scenes last month, including Hamlet’s most quoted soliloquy, in actual Klingon. In fact, the entire play has been translated into Klingon — or restored to its original language, depending on whom you ask. And, best of all, the actor Brian Rivera gave a surprisingly affecting Klingon rendition of “To be or not to be” in an independent short released last year online:

Which brings me back to Sir Patrick. His own version of the Big Soliloquy truly stripped the words to their very foundations. And the next generation of Shakespeare geeks, though still in Underoos, surely agree.

Next up? “Is this the letter D which I see before me?”

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  • Nickelsalsa

    it was awesome, but on so late I fell asleep before the end…hoping my PBS station decides to reair soon (hint hint)…

  • Catherine Quayle

    The good news is, they now have the entire film online. Click full screen!