Venturing the depths of inner conflict, Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” to be performed at Perry-Mansfield this weekend
A story of blind ambition, temptation and treachery, William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” ventures into the depths of man’s inner conflict.
At 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, the story can be witness at the Perry-Mansfield’s Julie Harris Theater stage, action-packed fight scenes and all.
Set in Scotland, the play features Perry-Mansfield’s Pre-Professional Intensive Theatre students, who have rehearsed for weeks with production director David Girard, assistant director Thomas Conroy, fight choreographer The Guthrie’s Joe Price and fight coach Dan Murray.
To get a glimpse of the production, Explore Steamboat caught up with Girard between rehearsals earlier this week.
Explore Steamboat: Why “Macbeth?”
David Girard: “Macbeth” will always be a universal tale. It is a story that clearly and dramatically illustrates the kind of destruction and bloodshed that is wrought when ambition goes unchecked. We find its most powerful expression in the play’s two main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
It is a story that we revisit over and over, and we see similar themes played out on film and television every night — just look at how popular Netflix’s “House of Cards” is. “Macbeth’s” themes are similarly universal and have inspired countless adaptations and the like. The inspiration is to try and root it in a world that is both accessible and exciting for the audience.
ES: What makes Shakespeare’s works accessible to us today? How do you think audiences this weekend can relate to that?
DG: Shakespeare deals in universal themes perhaps better than any playwright in the history of literature. Certainly, the way in which characters engage and communicate to the audience make it more accessible than I think people expect. In many respects, Shakespeare is a much more modern playwright than he usually gets credit for. This performative style of bringing it to the audience can be a very immersive experience, and we see many contemporary playwrights using many of these conventions in what is usually considered to be cutting-edge work.
Shakespeare did that over 450 years ago. It’s wonderfully theatrically and still very relevant. I also think our actors have been incredibly successful in marrying an Elizabethan tradition with a modern acting technique.
There’s also a lot of action in “Macbeth,” and, more particularly, with this production. We have a very talented fight choreographer and an excellent fight coach. Both of these gentlemen really know how to stage a fight and, even better, connect it to the story in a way that is thrilling.
ES: Tell me about this “Macbeth.” Is it different from other traditional versions seen on stages today?
DG: Well, our version of Scotland is more like 2517 than the Middle Ages we’re used to seeing in more traditional productions of this show. However, it still retains its connection to a less-civilized and violent society. We’re using our 2017 commonplace items as the artifacts for this distant future. The design is fresh and exciting. It’s a post-apocalyptic world, yet still retains an element of the ancient and timeless. I think a contemporary audience will really connect to this world, given our love for drama that incorporates the dystopian and/or supernatural; we’re nuts about “The Walking Dead,” “Game of Thrones,” “Stranger Things,” “The Leftovers,” etc. Our production of “Macbeth” is inspired by our current zeitgeist.
ES: What does the cast bring to the table with this performance?
DG: Perry-Mansfield goes out of its way to recruit some of the most talented high-school kids in the country. Many of them go to performing arts schools, so they’re almost uniformly more talented than your run-of-the-mill high school kid.
In the case of the young actor playing the title character (Chris Aimone), I think we hit the jackpot. I’m absolutely blown away by this young man’s talent. I direct at the professional level and teach in a university setting, so I’m used to working with really talented people. He’s the real deal, and the entire cast has far-exceeded my expectations. They’re also one of the nicest group of young adults I’ve had the pleasure to work with.
What will audiences be surprised by with this performance?
We have wonderful moments of spectacle. All the design elements are really great. I also think many of these kids are going to knock their socks off.
Tickets to the performance are $20 and can be purchased online at perry-mansfield.org.
To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.
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