Written by William Shakespeare, Macbeth, or as most theatre folks refer to it, The Scottish Play, is a psychological and tragic tale of blind ambition and destructive, consuming power. It is a play full of malicious intentions and gruesome murders. Cooperatively directed by Amelia Figg-Franzoi, Andrea Burkholder and Christopher Elst, this production with its intriguing artistic choices makes it unique. Driven by the challenge to destroy the text and build it back up using dance and aerial elements, this play is reminiscent of HHS’s production of The Tempest two seasons ago. While The Tempest text was slashed more and long dances served as pages of dialogue, Homestead’s production of Macbeth keeps most of the text and forces the actors to hold conversations while twirling on a trapeze or climb the aerial silks.
In this rendition, Macbeth’s ambition and belief in his wife lead to his destruction more-so than the witches and supernatural forces who, in other productions, are so often blamed. While the witches tell him his fate and watch the aftermath, it is Lady Macbeth who sets him forth to kill, turning Macbeth into a crazed murderer, mercilessly pursuing his dreams and desires.
Rather than allowing fate or anyone else to decide his future, he makes the future that he desires a reality. Blinded by his ambition and obsessed with gaining power over others, he gives in to the darkness within him to bring his future to fruition. It’s not long before Macbeth thinks himself to be untouchable and undefeatable. Little does he know his time at the top will be short-lived.
The notorious Macbeth is portrayed by freshmen Ben Usatinsky. He has a charming innocence about him that breaks and turns deranged by his evil deeds. His descent into madness is filled with frantic actions punctuated by calm stillness. His wife, Lady Macbeth, is portrayed by Sierra Mackiewicz who brings an interesting lightness and beautiful stillness to the role; most notably in her relationship with Macbeth. It is clear that she is the mistress of the house and, more often than not, is in charge of not only the house and staff but of her husband. Her influence over him is apparent from their first scene together. The pair is captivating to watch.
Macduff, fellow nobleman and leader of an army rising against Macbeth after he becomes king, is terrifically portrayed by David Blatz. He plays Macduff as a strong defender of what is right. Macduff is devastated when all he loves is taken from him igniting his rebellion against Macbeth. Their final vicious encounter is intensely crafted by both Chris Elst and Andrea Burkholder as Macbeth and Macduff fight on a table and trapeze.
One of the best casting choices in this production is Bella Gabor as Banquo, Macbeth’s friend, and fellow soldier. She is outstanding as a soldier and the better half of Macbeth. Her low voice and commanding presence are well matched to the self-important stature of Usatinsty’s Macbeth. Her portrayal of Banquo is one of the best we have seen.
Macbeth obviously has been a labor of love for the hard-charging cast and crew. Most of the set was built over spring break, and all the lighting happened at that time. The costumes bring us until the world of Regency England and Scotland, while the set makes us feel as though we are in a crumbling castle and the music brings the romantic era to life around us. Have we mentioned the music? There is a 12 piece orchestra playing live on stage, conducted by junior, Evan McGuire. With over 70 people working on this production, the rehearsal process has been intricate and intense.
We hope you come to see MACBETH this weekend!
A note about Parking:
There is a large Basketball tournament happening at HHS this weekend. Audience members for the play will have reserved parking in the District/Highlander walkway parking lot and the southernmost parking lot by the Science wing.
We have no idea what this weekend will hold, please come early. Thank you for understanding.