The UWG Theatre Company performed an innovative and captivating version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth for their final fall show.
The director of Macbeth, Christine Fuchs, chose to focus on the idea of ambiguity and cast some of the main roles as opposite genders of Shakespeare’s original characters. The production ran from Nov. 7 to 16 and featured a matinee option over the weekend. The show lasted just over 120 minutes with little set or costume changes throughout.
Macbeth began with an interesting number composed of the central characters stomping around the center of the room with wooden poles. It was an odd way to begin the evening but it grabbed the audience’s attention from the beginning. Soon after, three witches were left on the stage to foreshadow the play. The witches are a staple of Macbeth and they did not disappoint.
The cast was predominately female which made it a little confusing at times to keep track of some of the characters, especially since Macbeth and Banquo were played by females. There was even one cast member in particular who played four different characters throughout the night. Her repetition made it difficult to differentiate which role she was playing in a particular scene. For example, she played the doctor in a scene that came after one of her previous roles, the King, had died which left audience members wondering if the King had come back to life or not.
The best performer of the show was Ashley Carter who played Lady Macbeth. Carter captivated the essence of the character well and pulled in the audience’s attention every time she spoke. Her stage presence was amazing and her performance of the intense scenes exhibited her raw talent and passion for theatre.
The biggest distractions of the night were the constant lighting changes and sound effects. Every other scene went from dark to drastically bright with the changes that kept occurring. It was tough having to readjust your eyes every few minutes and keep focus on what was happening on stage. There were also high pitched and overwhelmingly loud sound effects every so often. The noises were louder than they should have been and seemed to make the audience jump every time any sound occurred.
The hardest part of the evening was trying to decipher the language of Shakespeare. The show could get a little confusing when the actors were standing in one spot speaking Early Modern English. If they were not necessarily acting the words out, the audience would start to lose focus.
Between the Early Modern English and the stiff chairs of Richard L. Dangle Theatre, the audience grew a little restless over the night. The show started out with only two empty seats and ended up having upwards of fifteen after intermission.
The lack of audience enthusiasm did not prevent the actors from putting on a stunning performance. They did an amazing job memorizing and acting out the characters in something as tough as Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The added element of gender bending a few characters was refreshing and brought a new meaning to the story of Macbeth.