One of Shakespeare’s darkest plays comes to life as a modern horror story filled with murder, betrayal, insanity and the supernatural when the Martin Methodist College Dramatic Arts Department presents “Macbeth” on Feb. 28, March 1 and March 2 at First National Bank’s Giles Heritage Theatre.
Curtain time is 7 p.m. for each performance. Admission is free, and seating is limited. The house opens at 6:30 p.m. and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Audiences are advised that this production contains graphic, horror-style blood and violence and is not appropriate for children.
Director David Alford, assistant professor of speech and dramatic arts at Martin Methodist, is bringing his vision for “Macbeth” to life in this production.
“I've always felt that in Shakespeare’s time he was a cutting-edge entertainer,” Alford says. “He pushed the boundaries with sexual innuendo in shows like ‘Taming of the Shrew.’ ‘Hamlet’ was a kind of supernatural suspense thriller. And ‘Macbeth’ is out-and-out horror. Shakespeare’s language doesn't get much more violent and bloody than in this play. So in our production we’re embracing that.”
Alford explains that audiences can expect a unique theatrical experience, including “violence, a fair amount of blood and some pretty creepy characters, all in a dimly lit setting. We're doing it in modern dress: think ‘Sons of Anarchy’ meets Rob Zombie. And we’re doing it in the round, so the audience will be right in the middle of the action. It’s an unusual setting: the majority of the audience will be sitting onstage next to the actors. We’ll be performing at the Giles Heritage Theatre in the First National Bank building in Pulaski, and we’re really grateful to them for allowing us to be there.
“There’s going to be a pretty aggressive – and loud – sound design element. All that considered, folks who are squeamish and people who consider themselves Shakespeare purists should be forewarned. It’s probably not appropriate for kids, either ... unless you take your kids to see R-rated horror movies.”
Even with the updated look and feel, the story is purely Shakespeare’s.
“We’re not changing the words. The lines are all Shakespeares.” Alford says. “The challenge I’ve given to the actors is that they feel as comfortable saying Shakespeare’s words as they would with a modern play. Not an easy task, since it is world-renowned poetry and some of the language can be hard for a modern audience to get used to, but they're rising to the challenge.’
“Macbeth” transcends time, and Alford hopes that his vision will help a modern audience relate to the dark story.
“My hope is that people who come to see the show will experience the same thing audiences in Shakespeare’s time did: shock, suspense, revulsion, dread, and a feeling of being compelled by the dark, twisted motives of the characters. The whole goal is to present the material in a way that underscores its timelessness and universal appeal. Shakespeare can be just as powerful today as it was 400 years ago. That’s his genius,” Alford says.
MMC’s production of “Macbeth” features fight choreography by assistant professor of dramatic arts David Wilkerson, who serves as the program coordinator for dramatic arts. The cast includes Jaye Phelps as Macbeth, Rachel Hagewood as Lady Macbeth, Kathrine McCollum, Jessica Haywood, and Lydia Wossum-Fisher as the Weird Sisters, Kelby Starchman as Macduff, Brett Runge as Malcom, Cobi Noblin as Ross, Laura Watson as Lennox, Dakota Shouse as Banquo, David Wilkerson as Duncan, with Margaret Horne as Lady Macduff, Joshua Bosnack as Fleance, Jean-Imani Phipps as the Porter, Emily Clayton as the Doctor, and Willow Cline and Kahle Reardon as the Murderers.
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