In the 2007 Northern Irish adaptation of Macbeth, Mickey B, directed by Tom Magill and put together by the inmates of Maghaberry Prison, the bodies of the actors/prisoners are presented as ambivalent signifiers. On the one hand, the bodies are represented as subjects of the narrative of redemption and rehabilitation through personal agency, facilitated through an education in Shakespeare. Indeed, the documentary “Growing Up with Violence,” included in the DVD of the film, serves as an essay that articulates the rehabilitory goals of the project and the company by letting the actors tell their own stories. On the other hand, the film’s unrelenting pessimism reinforces a narrative whereby it is impossible to ever escape the violence of carceral discipline. That same documentary, “Growing Up with Violence” represents the subjectivity of the actor inmates as formed, in part, through their capacity to suffer. That is, the bodies of the prisoners are performing a dual tragedy in Mickey B; they are adapting the story of Macbeth to their own lives, yet in doing so, they articulate their own subjectivity through suffering that extends beyond the disciplinary forces beyond their control. This paper will show the bodies of the actors/prisoners to be internalized sites of negotiation between the two narratives of rehabilitation and abjection, which ultimately results in a rejection of both narratives through the subject forming mechanism of suffering.


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pp. 577-599
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