By LAURA HUMBLE – STAFF WRITER
Something wicked this way comes as DramaCentre works diligently to prepare for their upcoming performance of Macbeth. The opening night looms ever closer as the cast and crew begin pulling all the pieces together to make Shakespeare’s classic come alive on the stage.
At the moment, the performance is still rough-hewn. Actors looked uncertain as they slid and stumbled across the veritable series of wooden half pipes that covered the stage.
“The actors need to adapt to what we have built because it hasn’t been real for them until now,” sophomore and Assistant Scenic Designer Cassie Chambers said. “I’m nervous and excited for how the set looks when it’s completed. I’m excited to see people do physical actions on the completed product.”
The set, designed by Centre alumna Krit Robinson ’09, is dynamic and adds a unique dimension to the show. It heightens the action and excitement of the scenes, making Centre’s production of Macbeth a real tour de force.
“The energy in this play is so high, starting from the very beginning with the fight scene, through the end,” sophomore Seth Gray said.
Gray, who plays the Scottish lord Lennox, is one of the first characters to run onstage screaming during the very first scene.
The department brought in a choreographer to design the fights and make them look realistic and visually exciting. Senior Lydia Kincaid, who has previous experience with choreographed fights, has been helping the cast rehearse.
“We extended the opening fight scene [because] it sets the mood for the world in which the play takes place,” Director and Professor of Dramatic Arts Tony Haigh said. And set the mood it does; after all, this is Medieval Scotland.
The designers are keeping with Shakespeare’s originally intended setting, while also taking into consideration the time in which it was written.
“Shakespeare is writing under a new Scottish king,” Haigh said. “There had been an assassination attempt on him [while] trying to instigate a Catholic resurgence … [This] king had written books on kinging and witchcraft [which] was a threat to the status quo.”
Consequently, the supernatural element of Macbeth is one that this production is trying to play up.
“It’s a collision between the natural, unnatural, and supernatural worlds,” Haigh said. “It is unnatural to kill a king, supernatural with the witches and sorcery, and all the while the natural world is trying to assert itself with elements of it throughout.
“It symbolizes a clash of good and evil, the natural and the unnatural in man, symbolized by Macbeth. This collision is enacted by supernatural intervention.”
The witches, or Weird Sisters as they are called, cackle gleefully and creep about the stage.
Everything about them heightens the supernatural mystique, from their voices to their costumes. They appear in dark cloaks, only to throw them off to reveal nude body suits designed by Centre alumna Beth Clark ’05 and painted by junior Annie Wolff.
There has also been a lot of activity in the costume shop for this production. The costumes, designed by Clark, are meant to reflect Medieval Scotland, and include homemade chain mail and sheet mail.
“I’m excited for the chain mail because it’s not something you get to make very often,” costume shop manager Danielle Held said. So all the pieces of the play are being pulled together.
“Now we’re working on getting the actors comfortable in the space, costumes, props and fighting at full speed … There’s a lot of momentum, so we’re keen on keeping the play moving,” Haigh said.
Macbeth opens on Wed., April 23, and runs through Sat., April 26, at 8 p.m. each night in Weisiger Theatre.