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Blood for Blood

Blood for Blood is a feature-length screenplay based on William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The story has been updated and set in Harlem during the crack epidemic of the 1980s. Gang-banger Thane McBride successfully defends his boss King Ducane’s territory during a violent shootout, and while fleeing the scene with his friend and partner Benito, both high on their newest drug Ecstasy, McBride encounters three women practicing a mixture of Santeria and Voodoo. The Priestesses foretell that McBride will now control the area of Harlem known as Sugar Hill, and they also prophesy that Benito’s sons will inherit the empire. The Priestesses vanish, and considering how high they were at the time, McBride and Benito treat their prophecies skeptically, until some of Ducane’s men tell McBride that he has been named the boss of Sugar Hill. McBride is intrigued by their remaining prophecies—that he will take over all of Harlem, but he is uncertain what to expect. McBride’s wife Ladailia desires the money and the power that it will bring and she convinces him that his future has been foretold and he should murder Ducane and his supplier Mike Duff and take over their drug-dealing empire. When McBride at first shows an unwillingness to carry out the plot, she overrides her husband’s objections using drugs and sex to threaten, cajole, and seduce him into carrying out her plot.

With Ducane dead, McBride easily assumes his position. Ducane’s sons Malcolm and Martin flee to New Jersey, fearing that whoever killed their father wants them dead as well.

Paranoid and frightened by The Priestesses’ prophecy that Benito’s heirs will ultimately rule his territory,

McBride orders his men to kill Benito and his son Segundo. McBride’s men ambush Benito, but they fail to kill Segundo. McBride becomes furious: as long as Segundo is alive, he fears that his power remains insecure.

At a party celebrating the life of Ducane, McBride, fueled by a continuous coke high and lack of sleep, believes he sees Benito’s ghost bleeding at the dinner table. McBride raves fearfully, startling his crew and the other gang-members. His wife tries to neutralize the damage, but McBride’s ravings show a weakness that scares the crew members, who are becoming aware of his current drug consumption.

Newly frightened, McBride finds The Priestesses, who show him a series of demons and spirits who present him with further prophecies: he must beware of Duff, who opposes McBride’s accession to the position of boss. They tell him he is incapable of being harmed by any man born of woman; and McBride feels secure, knowing that all men are born of women. When McBride learns that Mike Duff has joined with Malcolm and

Martin, he attempts to kill them all. McBride and his crew ambush Duff, Malcolm and Martin, and although they fend off the assassination attempt, Duff’s son Lennox is killed. Stricken with grief, Duff vows revenge.

Ladailia McBride, meanwhile, apparently suffering from guilt, becomes plagued with fits of sleepwalking and as she sinks deeper into her drug addiction, she is hospitalized where she ultimately commits suicide. McBride receives news that Ladailia has killed herself, causing him to sink into a deep and pessimistic depression. Nevertheless, certain that the Priestess’s prophecies guarantee his invincibility, he lures Duff into one last fight for the drug empire. At this shootout, Duff tells him that he was not “of born of woman” but was instead “ripped” from his mother’s womb during an emergency Cesarean Section. McBride realizes that the Priestesses tricked him and that he is doomed, but he continues to fight to the death.

Blood for Blood adds new elements not found in Shakespeare’s play, providing for a number of surprising twists and turns.

The first staged reading of Blood for Blood: