I think most Shakespeare folks think about how the texts work theatrically as we read them, but it's a fuller experience when you see them actually performed, and yet more intense when you participate in creating the performance.
The thing that really struck me as I watched last night was that while I've always thought of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as "grown ups," mature adults, say in their 30s or 40s at least, the high school students playing the parts brought things through for me in ways that made the youth thought-provoking and effective. When I think of Macbeth as a grown-up, then Lady Macbeth's attacking his sense of masculinity feels odd, but seeing Macbeth as a very young man, those attacks really worked.
When, in 1.7, she asks
Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dress'd yourself? hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valour
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,'
Like the poor cat i' the adage?
and he responds,
I dare do all that may become a man;
Who dares do more is none.
their youth really made his protest feel real, as if he's so young and still working on what it means to be a man in his so very violent culture.
One place where youth worked against our production was in Macduff's responses to the horror of the regicide of Duncan and to the worse horror of learning that his wife and children have been killed. Similarly, Malcolm never quite got the hang of looking really scared, worried, or griefstricken. Our actors, happily for them, don't seem to have had much experience with real grief, so acting it was difficult, and they didn't always pull it off. And grief seems to be a hard emotion to act because you have to be able to say your lines clearly, and you can't actually do that if you're choking back tears and all. So you have to get the response from the audience with more subtle stuff.
That struck me as especially difficult; I've experienced a lot less grief than a lot of people, and my reactions have been very different, physically, at different times. But my reactions always felt weird or off, too, as if even though I was sitting alone in a room, I wasn't performing grief right for my culture or something. So I don't think I was able to help our actors much with the grief thing.
Another thing that struck me last night is how absurdly funny bits of Macbeth are. The porter scene worked way better for me live than it does in the text, especially the second part, where he's talking to Macduff and Lennox. I think seeing Macduff and Lennox react made it work for me. When I read the play, the porter is more of an intellectual exercise, I guess, and so less funny.