Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Macbeth"

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note: entire contents copyright 2004 by Carl A. Rossi


"MACBETH"

by William Shakespeare
directed by Daniel Gidron

Macbeth … Barry Abramowitz
Malcolm/Lord … Spencer S. Christie
Lady Macbeth … Stephanie Clayman
Ross/Porter/Murderer … Owen Doyle
Banquo/Old Siward … Mike Houston
Macduff/Murderer … Gus Kelley
Witch/Lady Macduff … Joy Lamberton
Witch/Gentlewoman … Linda Lowy
Bleeding Captain/Murderer/Young Siward … James Milord
Duncan/Lennox/Doctor … Chuck Schwager
Witch/Fleance/Macduff’s Child … Rydia Q. Vielehr

Never do the young need to be more introduced to the magic of live theatre than in these times where they are bombarded by television, movies and media games yet largely unaware of the beauty of movement and speech performed a few feet in front of them (too many “flat” actors are in their lives and not enough “round” ones). Shakespeare Now! seeks to remedy that by touring local grade, junior and high schools with the Bard’s most accessible plays; it is currently offering MACBETH at the Massachusetts College of Art --- should you attend, with or without a young escort, it is best to view Shakespeare Now!’s productions as a child, yourself, for here are simple, direct entertainments with some performers still cutting their teeth on the verse; the results can range from good to ragged --- but young eyes and ears may not notice when swept up in Shakespeare’s gripping tragedy of ambition and murder with all its consequences; should students be inspired to attend more live theatre or consider stepping onto a stage, themselves, Shakespeare Now! could well become a Shakespeare Tomorrow!

Apart from the production’s witches --- three raggedy babes --- and the Macbeth-Macduff battle which includes a knee in the groin, Daniel Gidron’s direction is gimmick-free and flows well enough and Jenna McFarland’s bare-bones set pays homage to those of Gordon Craig and Robert Edmond Jones from long, long ago. Stephanie Clayman, who earned a Supporting Addison as a loopy comedienne in SHEL’S SHORTS, plays Lady Macbeth as a Kate or a Beatrice, full of fun and high spirits --- Duncan’s murder becomes a mischievous trick when plotted so sprightly --- at least Ms. Clayman doesn’t appear in white silk pajamas as another Lady M. did, a few seasons back. Barry Abramowitz, on the other hand, turns in a blood-and-thunder Macbeth, refreshingly old-fashioned. In ensembles, Mr. Abramowitz’s Thane is a Smilin’ Charlie; in his solos, he comes into his own. His voice is not rich and prone to hissing but it is also musical and intimate, shot through with melancholy --- Macbeth as poet rather than warrior. Mr. Abramowitz performs his solos, stock still --- rather than making him appear wooden, Mr. Abramowitz’s stance allows him to concentrate on the words as a recitalist and build and shape each aria from the ground up; his rueful laughter in “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” instantly changes his fiend back to human form, surveying all the wreckage he has wrought.

I’ve a question for the historians: MACBETH ends with Malcolm being rightfully crowned, being Duncan’s son and all, yet Banquo had been prophesied as the source of future kings --- what happened to Malcolm, then?

HELP SAVE BOSTON’S HISTORIC GAIETY THEATRE!

"Macbeth" (3-23 November)
SHAKESPEARE NOW!
Massachusetts College of Art, 621 Huntington Avenue, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 326-3643

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England’s LIVE Theater Guide

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