By Alison Tingley
All An Act Theatre Productions is currently presenting MacBeth, written by William Shakespeare. Nicholas R. Kikola directs this dark drama. MacBeth opened at the Globe Theatre (probably) in the early 1600s. I don’t know what kind of awards they had back then, but I’d like to think the play won a few. Ah, the Scottish play. They call it that, because superstition dictates that the play is cursed and it is bad luck to say “MacBeth.” MacBeth, MacBeth, MacBeth!
Now that I have that out of my system, set in Scotland, MacBeth is about the Thane of Glamis – we’ll call him MacBeth – and his wife. Fresh from battle, MacBeth and his companion Banquo run into three witches who prophesize that MacBeth will soon also be Thane of Cawdor and then King. They also foresee that Banquo will father a long line of kings, but never be one himself. Two minutes later, MacBeth is Thane of Cawdor. (By the way, a thane is basically Scottish lord.) Excited and perplexed about the news, MacBeth tells his wife and she is super psyched. The king arrives at MacBeth’s castle, and, prompted by Lady MacBeth, he kills the king while he is sleeping in order to advance his predicted career. Of course, once you kill someone, you often have to kill more people and sometimes friends, like Banquo, to keep it quiet. However, guilt starts to creep in and the husband and wife find themselves freaking out a bit. And, naturally, MacDuff and Malcolm figure out what’s going on and raise an army to defeat MacBeth. That’s pretty much the sum of it.
The cast includes Michael Weiss (King Duncan), Todd Paropacic (Malcolm), Matthew Fuchs (MacBeth), Karen Schelinski (Lady MacBeth), Matthew Crays (MacDuff), Craig Schneider, Christopher Hinchman, Wayne Gardner, and Frederick Williams as various thanes, Shawn Hogue (Porter), and Cristen Manion, Louise Wiest, and Khadija Djellouli as the Weird Sisters (three witches).
I should tell you that this is my favorite Shakespeare play. Fuchs and Schelinski do not disappoint in the slightest. They are both fantastic in their roles. You can see the hope, hunger, greed, guilt, and paranoia in their eyes, faces, and movements, and you can hear it in their voices. They make the show worth seeing. Their performances are just plain excellent. I also really enjoyed Hogue’s performance. If there is a comic relief in MacBeth – and there’s really not – it would be the porter, and Hogue does a great job with this rather small role.
On the negative side, Kikola’s choice to outfit and direct the Weird Sisters as sex kittens quickly becomes rather distracting. Given that, Manion, Wiest, and Djellouli work well in their roles and work very well together on the stage. The rest of the cast just doesn’t seem to really be into their characters the way I would have liked them to be.
The costumes and set work well for the setting. The directing was well done.