I love “Macbeth.” Let me just start with that. To me it is the most perfect of Shakespeare’s tragedies (and that is with great apologies to “Hamlet” and “King Lear,” both if which I dearly love). It packs so much into its two hours of playing time, revealing so much about the human psyche. There are those who disagree with me, who think that the structure is weak- that the second half of the play breaks or undermines the momentum of the narrative right about the time most tragedies are nearing the climax of the action. Heck, Shakespeare even inserts three long scenes between characters who are not Macbeth, one that is ten minutes long and that includes no death or mayhem.
But, to me, that is part of the power of the play. In the first half we see a “good” person seduced by the idea of power and status, and we watch as he justifies his own moral decay along with some incredibly despicable actions to achieve power. In the second half, we see how actions affect others, how one person’s actions and desires can influence and change the lives of others for better, or, in this case, much worse. And then we watch as people of all walks decide to act for the good, even in the face of the same challenges that beset the tyrant. Oh, and there are sword fights.
This is also the first time I’ve co-directed with someone. Lori-Ann and I have worked together for a long time, as actor/director, director/stage manager/actor/actor, and we work well together. I think that we both complement each other and fill in each other’s gaps. It’s been a wonderful collaboration. It is a fairly well-known theatrical fact that there are usually more women than men who audition for plays – at least two to one. And that Shakespeare, because he wrote in a time that women were not allowed on stage, wrote plays with no more than three women (maybe four, once in a while). We both also wanted to find a way to include as many of the people who auditioned for us (In fact, we were able to cast pretty much everyone who auditioned for us and that has been exciting). So, we looked at a time that could incorporate more women as warriors, and that would also be a time that included the possibilities of witches existing. And we settled on Scotland’s semi-mythical past at the moment they kicked the Vikings out of their country. That way we were able to work with many more women and put together the strongest cast possible. We trust you’ll see why.
We have twenty-nine people in the cast and a large crew, a veritable town of people to tell the story of Macbeth, who probably lived in Scotland in the 11th century, and also probably should have become king because he was the strongest and most successful warrior. And I, we, sincerely hope that you enjoy your journey with us into the heart of darkness that is the “Tragedy of Macbeth.”