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Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy, “Macbeth,” has just been given a new pair of legs on which to stand, and the timing couldn’t have been better. With recent discussions coursing through National Public Radio concerning the role of the female military leader, Resurrection Theatre director Benjamin T. Ismail decided to cast a woman in the traditionally male role, and the results are fantastic to watch.
Played in modern dress, the traditional roles of Macbeth and Lady M. as husband and wife are adapted into daughter and mother, and the play of persuasion and bitterness makes as much, if not more, sense than the play traditional. This is apparent in two vastly important plot-points: Macbeth’s romantic feelings toward Banquo and her mother’s ability to instill guilt and allegiance by way of maternal “disappointment.”
An interesting point of notice for the play was the overt use of poppies, a symbol often associated with sleep or death. These come out as a gifted pendent given the newly titled Mackers and also as the flower in the witch’s hand at play’s end. It’s also hinted within the play that Macbeth’s vision of the witches might be from substance abuse, which points again at the poppy.
Local actor Tygar Kicks stars as the innocent turned malicious title general/king, and her performance, the last as a community theater actor to boot, sheds new light on the protagonist beset with guilt and impassioned violence. Margaret Morneau plays Macbeth’s now mother, and leads the role with the iron fist that is loosened and lost as the play progresses. Her indignation is palpable and her madness is harrowing.
Other casting plusses are Jouni Kirjola who plays the unfortunate Banquo, and the witches, played by Gay Cooper, who also plays the Porter, Scott Divine, who also plays Macduff, and Gina Williams, who also plays Rosse, make a fine addition with all of their lines recorded and warped into an eldritch echo made for a fine bout of supernatural ambiance. King Duncan, played by Jes Gonzales, brings a touching lovability to the doomed monarch, and the king is also the reason that in this Shakespearean universe women are allowed to lead on the battlefield.
The set gave an excellent portrayal of things to come; brick walls covered in patches of white, but having boulders shown through bedecked with moss. The columns, which were too frequently moved by extra witches, brought a sense of flexibility to the settings, but often drew attention from the action.
The play runs from through March 19 with shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. For more information visit Resurrection Theatre’s website.
MAX’S RATING: A MOUTH AGAPE, A THOUGHTFUL REASSESSMENT AND A DAMNED SPOT
Photos courtesy of David Garrison