Mask men! Help these actors find their missing ‘Macbeth’ prop

The Brooklyn Paper
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Come out, damned prop!

Two Bedford-Stuyvesant actors who perform Shakespeare on the subway are offering a reward for the safe return of their missing “Macbeth” mask, which was ripped off from a production on June 10.

Paul Marino and Fred Jones said a replacement mask for the one-of-a-kind visage — used for Macbeth’s decapitated head — has proven inferior.

“It’s just not the same,” said Marino, 29. “We’re so upset. We’re just praying that some good citizen gives it back to us.”

The buskers last saw the rubber noggin on the G train between Hoyt-Schermerhorn and Bedford-Nostrand, from 7:45 and 8:30 pm, but they refuse to believe that what’s done is done.

“I keep telling Fred that he’s still out there somewhere,” Marino said.

The duo — a two-man operation called “Popeye and Cloudy” — performs four to five days a week on both Brooklyn- and Manhattan-bound trains. Since their January debut, they’ve clocked more than 3,000 subterranean shows, which last a few minutes each.

Their repertoire includes scenes from “Romeo and Juliet,” “Julius Caesar,” and “Hamlet.” They will premiere “King Lear” in two weeks.

But their most electrifying performance is the final scene in Shakespeare’s famous “Scottish play,” where Macduff and the title character engage in an epic sword fight. The blades are imaginary, but the thespians bang on subway doors and pace the car during their rousing delivery. By the end of the vein-popping act, sweat drips from their brows.

“Macbeth is a scene that takes a big toll on us — it’s chaos within chaos,” said the 26-year-old Jones. “It’s a cursed play.”

After Macduff (Marino), beheads Macbeth (Jones), he pulls the mask from his pocket and dangles it before rapt straphangers.

The original mask had a sly, goofy grin and puffy beard — but it also had personality, providing comic relief to their bemused audiences.

“It’s really a big murder scene, but when we’d turn around with this head that looks nothing like us, people would just die,” Marino said.

During a recent rush-hour performance with the replacement, no one laughed. Several passengers did, however, lavish praise and drop dollars in their hats.

The actors bought their irreplaceable prop on clearance at a Manhattan costume shop. Desperate to undo their tragedy, they returned to the store to find a duplicate, scavenged several G train platforms, and even put up a Craigslist ad, but to no avail.

The only photo of their beloved mask is of low quality, so Marino plans to sketch it and hang a “Wanted” poster on telephone poles.

Plebeians with information on the whereabouts of the Macbeth mask should contact Popeye and Cloudy at (646) 431-8979 or

Updated 5:24 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Or from Yellow Hook says:
My ride will not be disturbed by pesty children and their loud puppet show - it's a good thing.
June 17, 2011, 8:44 am
SwampYankee from hipsterville says:
I wish these overgrown infants would just stop disturbing my subway ride. I have a good book that I want to read. I am so sick and tired of these "LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEEEE" hipster assuming I want to see their stupid shtick. Grow up, go away and have some consideration for others.
June 17, 2011, 8:59 am
Katie from Anti-hipsterville says:
These guys are actually very talented!
Shakespeare on the subway can only be a good thing. Stop being curmudgeons and lighten up!
June 17, 2011, 10:25 am
Cee-ster says:
Why aren't these overgrown children employed?
How are they supporting themselves? Are tax payers footing the bill for them?
What a waste.
June 17, 2011, 11:30 am
SwampYankee from trust fund trashville says:
Katie, I don't care if they are talented or not. It's not fair that I am trapped in an aluminium box with no choice but to have their idea of "theater" inflicted upon me. If they are that talented go perform in a theater where people have to but a ticket or make a choice to enter. If they were that good perhaps they should go to a city with a big performing arts scene. Oh, wait a minute Katie....they already live in the theater capital of the world!!!!! If they are so talented why do they need to perfrom in front of a captive audience?
June 17, 2011, 11:40 am
Paul from Bed-Stuy says:
This is New York. People all around us are hustling, striving to get paid, to grow. I bet you get in my way, too, somehow. Subway buskers are a part of this city and the brazen, unexpected art that seems to grow from the cracks in its pavement. You poo-pooers are a minority. The vast majority of subway riders that have seen our act have shown us overwhelming love. People often tell us that it made their day, that it reminded them of why they love NY. If you do hate it, I'm sorry. Please pardon us for three minutes. Keep your earphones in, read your book, it's ok. You may find that you want to take your earphones out, or put down your book, and follow the scene. That shift is the most beautiful thing, really. I'm totally in love with this. I'm in love with this city. Your hate is like a drop of water on my bonfire. As for your name-calling, you're way off and obviously haven't met us or even seen a performance. To the rest of you, thank you so much for all your love. See you out there.
June 17, 2011, 12:05 pm
Hollie Jenkins from Park Slope says:
All I know is that nothing is more intrusive then trying to read your kindle and having some filthy subway performer literally "spit" Hamlet at you. I am a democrat and a non violent person, but every time I see these idiots I just wish someone would stab them to death for real and leave their bodies in the middle of the desert.
June 17, 2011, 12:26 pm
J. Farlo from Cobbham says:
Paul from Bed-Stuy --

Yes, it's all about you.
June 17, 2011, 12:28 pm
lol from lolsville says:
"Plebeians with information on the whereabouts of the Macbeth mask"

Are you sure you know what the word "plebeian" means?
June 17, 2011, 12:30 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Hollie Jenkins: "I am a democrat and a non violent person, but every time I see these idiots I just wish someone would stab them to death for real and leave their bodies in the middle of the desert."

Thank God you're not a violent Republican! Who knows what you'd do to them.
June 17, 2011, 12:56 pm
SwampYankee from Brooklyn says:
Sorry Paul. The vast majority do not want to see your act. Unlike you, they are too polite to say something. you are taking advantage of people. Play your act in the street and if the crowds gather fine. You have a captive audience. They have no choice. You may live in Bed-Sty, but you were not born there. Probably not born in NYC. We do not want to be help captive. Please stop bother people on their commutes. It's not polite and you have no right to make a unilateral decision as to what people want to experience on their commute. Please stop. Even better, go back to the state you were born in
June 17, 2011, 1:11 pm
John from just want to be left alone says:
Respectfully, your, and those like you , are most unwelcome. You are no better then the holy-rollers screaming jesus. I doubt I have ever "gotten in your way", I sit quietly and mind my own business trying hard to respect the rights, space, and quite of those around me. "Grow" somewhere else, this is not your garden, or your playground. Those people you are disturbing? Those are the ones trying to "get paid", by going to their jobs. This is not your workplace, garden, playground, place to grow or anything like that. It is public transportation, not a theater. Please stop this. Most people really don't like it. Those that do can go to a theater.
June 17, 2011, 1:20 pm
Joe Z. from Greenpoint says:
"But their most electrifying performance is........

Paul and Fred breaking into a barefoot tapdance on the third rail. That would truly be electrifying....600 VDC worth.

Cut the condescension crap telling me it's O.K. to ignore your annoying me. It's also O.K. if I decide to break my foot off in your inauthentic, interloping, living-in-a-state-of-perpetual-childhood-like-some-tract-house-community-Peter Pan-from-the-Great Nowhere-from some nondescript-location-west-of New Jersey ass for disturbing my, up until your stupid exhibition, reatively peaceful commute. Seconding SwampYankee's sentiment, amscray utbay ickquay, orkday.
June 17, 2011, 3:36 pm
john from just want to be left alone says:
I don't know if they are good or not. I do know they are loud. I left the car when they came in. I didn't want to see their show. But next stop, they came into my car. When they finish, a mariachi band gets in at the next stop. Then they play. 2 stops later a preacher gets in, and he starts screaming. Where does it end? Why do I have to be subjected to this? If everyone thinks they are so wonderful why can't people see them at a theater. I know the guy only thinks it's 3 minutes, but it's busker after busker wanting their 3 minutes. I had homework to do and I couldn't do it because every "artistic person" wants to perform.
June 17, 2011, 4:14 pm
Sam from Bk says:
I hate subway performers. They choose to put on a "show" then have the nerve to ask for money. Good thing for headphones to drown out their pollution. Paul go to BAM if you wanna preform so bad.
June 17, 2011, 5:45 pm
Joe Z. from Greenpoint says:
"Joe Z. -- that kind of talk is not appropriate for this board. maybe in the black, uneducated ghetto. but not here. I am hitting Report Abuse button."

Help yourself. Those aren't my comments. Unfortunately, this site doesn't require logging in; so, anyone can use someone else's name.
June 17, 2011, 6:23 pm
Paul from Bed-Stuy says:
It is wonderful to know you feel that way. For years we have been doing bogus puppet shows on the G train and held our feelings inside as we scammed hard working New Yorkers with our lame-ass hipster fauxheimien art school act knowing full well we could never be real New Yorkers. Now that our feelings are in the open let us return to our home town of Weasel-Taint Montana as I insert my hipster paraphernalia into your waiting turd-cutter. First a fixie bike, then a 6-pack of PBR, a soy-latte, an iPad, an iPod, a macbook pro, vinyl records even I will not listen to in 6-months, your soiled undies from the last no pants subway ride and my parents trust-fund check so I can annoy the ever loving —— out of hard working New Yorkers on the subway as I film it all on my iPhone and blog about it.
June 17, 2011, 9:36 pm
missing McBeth Mask from The G Train says:
i was not stolen or lost!!!!! i had to get away from these hipster ——s so i bolted through the door and threw myself under the train instead of facing yet anther day of busking for people that only wanted me dead. please kill me!!! i have only a fake mouth and yet i must scream!!! please kill me
June 17, 2011, 9:49 pm
Paul from Bed-Stuy says:
Anybody who wants to have a real discussion knows how to contact us.
June 17, 2011, 11:34 pm
Paul from Bed-Stuy says:
And anybody with the courage to call me names to my face, you know how to contact me. Cee-ster, Swamp Ass, come get some.
June 17, 2011, 11:36 pm
Paul from Bed-Stuy says:
In fact, you can't help but contact us because we are going to shove our art down you throat whether you like it or not!
June 18, 2011, 7:15 am
Cee-ster says:
When I toss salad, I always use a knife. What are you all talking about?
I was talking about the over grown actors on the train. Seems, no one has told them that Shakespeare is so totally played out!
June 18, 2011, 10:51 pm
Paul from Bed-Stuy says:
Dear critics:
I honestly value your positions. I have always realized that we are high-jacking an audience, but I felt that it was worthwhile for everyone involved. Ironically, I hate public space preachers and have even chastised them. I know that some perceive us as I perceive these preachers. The question of selfishness is one that I consider deeply. Friday night we went out to perform, and I had these questions heavy on my mind. However, the crowds were so excited, so grateful, that I couldn't help but be reassured that what we do is as much for them as it is for us. Swamp Yankee, I don't know what you saw (assuming you actually saw us). One in ten performances is not a hit with the crowd. Maybe you saw one of those. What can I say? You win some, you lose some. I'm guessing that the rest of you haven't actually seen what we do and how the crowds receive it. It would surprise you. In any case, your perspectives reminded us to be sensitive to the passengers' position and influenced the way we deliver the performance. So, this experience was positive.
As for name-calling, etc.: all I ask is that you have the spine to say these same words to my face and to accept the repercussions. So far, you guys are bold typists, but let the record show that none of you has the courage to meet me in person. Joe Z, Swamp Yankee, Cee-ster: Wouldn't you rather hit me than type cheap words about me? Let's do it.
June 19, 2011, 9:27 pm
The Dude from Dyker Heights says:
Not sure why they are hipsters. But maybe i don't know what that word means. Performances on the train are illegal. Plain and simple. I've seen dancers kick people in the face, I've seen a dancer smash his head on the roof of a car, and I've seen a performer slip and whack his mouth on a handrail. There is a reason why performers are asked to perform on platforms. A train is a confined space, designed for travel. Little else. People are not allowed to pee wherever they want, or park wherever they want, or smoke wherever they want either. There is nothing wrong with expressing oneself in public. But there's a time and a place. With the whole city as a stage, why choose the subway car? Bill set none of his plays in a subway. He set them in Trump Plaza, various Duane Reades, and on kayaks in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
June 21, 2011, 4:05 pm
Joe from Az says:
New Yorkers are miserable. Look at yourselves.
June 24, 2011, 11:27 am
Keith Malek from Gravesend says:
The reason why they can't find their mask is because someone hid it underneath their workboots. Until they realize this, they'll keep searching for it underneath their straw hats and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle t-shirts.
July 31, 2011, 9:37 am

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