Feminist is to Internship as Macbeth is to Mental Hospital

Theater Alan Cumming

(Liya Rechtman)– Copy. Paste. Copy. Paste. Code yellow: we will monitor media on this issue but at current time it does not constitute a crisis. According to my research, stevia is a more criticized product in the sweetener space than sucralose by major media outlets, however it should be noted that some smaller campaigns actively oppose.

Copy. Paste. Some smaller campaigns actively oppose. Organizations similar to our client have faced analogous problems in the past. This is media. This is corporate social responsibility. See attached deck for our analysis of the situation. See skittles. This is a skittle. This is your brain on skittles. This is your brain on stevia. Your brain is made of sucralose.

In my dreams I am swimming into the white, unfilled spaces between bordered boxes on an excel spreadsheet. The shadows of my face gleam hyperlink blue in the mirror. If you touch me I will automatically open in Google Chrome and express to you a seemingly unrelated file.

There is a rat running in between the tracks on the subway. I am running from the F train to the 6 train across the Broadway-Lafayette platform and I see the rat out of the corner of my eye. I am running.

Do not look. Do not look at the rat as he weaves in and out of the tracks. Do not think about how large he is do not look in his eyes. Focus. There is a pregnant women weaving down the platform she is carrying an iced coffee and you must calculate circumnavigation or you will be late for WORK.

“Unsex me!” Alan Cumming screams, legs wide open and naked in a bathtub. The image is reflected onto the simultaneous transmission of three grainy black and white televisions suspended above the stage. In this moment he is Lady Macbeth, or Macbeth, or a mental patient and we, as the audience, are not quite sure but we want to see more. Director John Tiffany got it right when he decided to re-cast Macbeth as a one-man play done entirely by Cumming. If we weren’t just leaning in for that rolling Scottish accent, we were wondering if Macbeth could be un-sexed. In fact, we were wondering if he could be un-anything.

“Unsex me!” That little line, when read in it’s full context, Lady Macbeth pleading with dark magic and with the witches, gave me goose bumps when it lay still and silent on the page.

Come you spirits
That tend to mortal thoughts, unsex me here
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty!

Watching Cummings deliver that line from his position fluctuating in every moment between the most helpless, the most un-help-able of mental patients to a Macbeth, the great power slowly becoming a killer (or was he always a killer? Or is it slow?) makes the line take on a secondary meaning. Un-me, here! Take me away from me so I can be something stronger. Here, have my sex, my essence so that I can be a killer, so I can succeed for the sake of, of what? Her/his children? Macbeth himself? Or, the mental patient clutching as Cumming does to a paper bag with a child-sized knit sweater in it, to his own. Un-me me, here! Let me be unknowing.

I can’t help think, when I’m typing my way through an 8-hour workday at an office, fully decked in dress clothes and media lingo, about where my liberal arts education is going. The feminist in me still mutedly beats through the day. She bursts out of me sporadically: Wait, what are we saying about women in STEM again? Is this really ‘empowering’ or actually disempowering? How are Western women employing the Western gaze to undermine the agency of non-Western women and actually create non-governmental/pseudo-governmental policing systems of occupation and bureaucratic administration through this organization? Another spreadsheet. Talking points. Copy. Paste. Copy. Copy.

When the first murderer (played by Cummings) tells his own reflection in a mirror in the upper corner of the stage that he has “My lord, his throat is cut” after killing Banquo, Cummings looks madly into his own eyes and responds, giggling: “Thou art the best o’ the cut-throats!”

How do other people do this? This is the summer for experimenting and learning how to cope with the real world. This is my last summer before I leave the universe of Amherst College and I stop being a sexual respect expert or an Editor-In-Chief or a senator and I become a permanent intern or project assistant, coordinator, organizer et cetera. Copy. Copy. Paste.

Do I simply stop recognizing myself when I look in the mirror? You are the best of the cut-throats, you, you other person in the mirror! You, you reflection in the grainy television suspended over your own head transmitting each twitch of your (our) face simultaneously above your line of vision.

Do I learn to love it? If there must be corporations, they should at least be socially responsible, communicate well, brand ethically et cetera. Copy paste.

Or do I stop caring? I will not look at the rat. I will not look at the rat because there is no rat. There is no pregnant lady on this platform in front of me. I went to college I learned some things but they weren’t related to graphic design so all I have are analytical skills and that just is code for saying I don’t know graphic design. What class on the jurisprudence of occupation? Feminism? I work on enhancing programs for women in STEM fields. Women, feminism, et cetera. Paste.

What I am writing here is a code yellow: we will continue to monitor this issue but at current time it does not constitute a crisis. No immediate action needs to be taken.