Macbeth comethIt’s not the sunniest play, but the tragedy “Macbeth” as put on by Jamestown College will feature some swashbuckling, murder, mystery, revenge, insanity and witchcraft.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
It’s not the sunniest play, but the tragedy “Macbeth” as put on by Jamestown College will feature some swashbuckling, murder, mystery, revenge, insanity and witchcraft.
The play by William Shakespeare follows Macbeth (played by Tony McIntyre) whose destiny was written by three witches. The play follows that destiny to the bloody end.
Set in the 11th century, Macbeth is told he will be king but his fellow general, Banquo, (played by Logan Caldwell) is also told he will be the one who fathers a line of kings while never holding the throne himself.
Director Mike McIntyre said while watching “Macbeth” viewers can find out if Macbeth is true to his mortality, or lack thereof, or if he is merely a puppet of the witches.
“In many ways I describe it as one of the tighter of Shakespeare’s shows,” said McIntyre, theater department director, who only picks one Shakespeare show every four years to perform.
Other productions like “King Lear” have more complex plots and subplots. This in comparison is a pretty straightforward production.
Shakespeare’s classic has a history dating back about 400 years and students acting in this production face the challenge of reciting lines in the way the writer and director intended, in iambic pentameter. That means one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one, five total times for each line.
“You have to be spot-on with these words,” said McIntyre of the script. “If you’ve broken it down and scanned it you can use it as a device to help you memorize it.”
So far that has worked for Jordan Wolfe, a senior theater and music performance major, who finds himself in the role of Macduff.
“It really makes you notice what the relevant word you are saying is,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe said he is glad to get the chance to act out a Shakespeare play his senior year, but the role has some challenges.
“The hardest part of playing Macduff is he gets to hear a lot of bad news,” Wolfe said. “If he’s not hearing bad news, he’s finding bad news.”
Wolfe’s classmate Rachel Braff, a senior theater and history major, also has a difficult task cut out for her on the stage as Lady Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth sleepwalks, has random mutterings and eventually goes insane before her demise.
“I think it’s so far my favorite role I’ve had to do. When she goes insane you have to be more willing with the audience instead of being more contained,” Braff said.
McIntyre said Lady Macbeth is definitely a dynamic character in the production.
“She not only learns of her own villainy, she intends to foster that and build and talk about it,” he said. He called the character “blatantly evil.”
Macbeth has a history that stretches back almost four centuries. Because of that, some actors take notice of certain disasters in the past related to the show — and never utter the word “Macbeth” in their theater to avoid unlucky events.
The “Macbeth” curse: For example, during a 1672 rendition an actor replaced a fake sword with a real one and killed another actor during a production. In 1849, 31 people were trampled to death after a riot broke out during the show. A man in the audience was hit by a sword and later suffered a heart attack and dyed in 1937, and Abraham Lincoln also read the play aloud a week before his assassination.
“Don’t worry that something might go wrong,” McIntyre tells his casts before productions. “It will.”
One example is the last production at Jamestown College, “The Nerd.” Wolfe said props went missing and the scenery fell apart a few times. He said no one is worried for this show.
“The curse started prior and ended quite well before we started (“Macbeth”), he said. “I think we’ll do fine.”
The show is at 7:30 p.m. April 7-9 in the Reiland Fine Arts Center’s DeNault Auditorium.
Tickets are $7 and can be reserved through the box office. To reserve tickets, call (701) 252-3467, ext. 2435, send e-mail to tickets@ jc.edu, or visit the Jamestown College website www.jc.edu and click on “Community” and “Reiland Box Office.” The box office is located in room 130 of the Reiland Fine Arts Center. Box Office hours are 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“It’s very intense, there’s a lot of angst and a dark theme going through it,” Braff said. “Which I think is fabulous.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455
or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org