note: entire contents copyright 2004 by Carl A. Rossi
Malcolm; Witch; Seyton; Murderer … Jessica Burke
Lady Macbeth; Witch … Allison Clear
Ross; Witch; Murderer … Linda Lowy
Banquo; Macduff … James Milord
Duncan; Fleance; Lennox; Doctor … Seth Reich
Macbeth … Lewis Wheeler
The newly-born Actors’ Shakespeare Project promises a season of Shakespeare in all his bare-boned glory; for the past four years, Shakespeare Now! Theatre Company, which performs selected comedies and tragedies for Massachusetts schools, has been proving all along that the Bard can be done sans sets, sans visions, sans everything but actors --- and even the latter can be kept to a minimum. The company gave a showcase performance of its one-hour version of MACBETH, using only six actors to pull it off --- I was amazed that half of the tragedy could be removed and not disturb the storyline and how half a dozen bodies can do the work of a larger repertory company. This is Shakespeare geared for younger audiences, mind you, thus the acting was simple and direct, with a youthful Thane and his missus (ah, those overreaching twentysomethings!), and all went well, including some basic swordplay, save for one glaring update --- Lady Macbeth’s death was caused by an onstage overdose of sleeping pills; the voices ranged from the potentially Shakespearean to mere shouting but, again, the performance’s strength rested more in how it was done rather than how it was said.
The performance took place in the Regent Theatre which boasts a concession stand in its lobby; it was both amusing and heartening to see audience members settling in with popcorn and soda --- the most relaxed Shakespearean audience I’ve seen, yet, enjoying themselves as if at a blockbuster flick which is how the Bard should ideally be consumed: as bread-and-butter theatre, not as rarefied cake.