by William Shakespeare
August 4 - 28, 2005
"De Acha emphasizes the erotic energy of Lady Macbeth, Shakespeare's most powerful female character, and as Bridget Connors plays her, it's easy to see why Macbeth would bend to his wife's will. Connors's fiery, sensual performance combines verbal felicity with emotional and physical commitment. She commands attention whenever she is onstage, and her sleepwalking scene is particularly fine. In the title role, Keith Cassidy brings a modern intensity and physical power; for once, this muscular Macbeth actually looks like a warrior..."
"Passion - for each other and for their murderous tasks - is palpable whenever Keith Cassidy and Bridget Connors are onstage at New Theatre, as Macbeth and his power-hungry and bloodthirsty wife... Keith Cassidy begins soft-spoken, a reasonable man, though he grows quickly into murderous fiend and, soon after becomes wracked with guilt and unnerved by visions of his victims. The actor is verbally adept, understands there are ways of projecting power without merely shouting and he delivers Macbeth's several famous soliloquies with rare intelligence. Still, it is the even more rare production where Lady Macbeth does not steal the show, as Connors does with her sensuous embodiment of the lithe lethal climber. It is a slithery performance, low to the ground and yet towering. And when she lets forth with a feral scream, the effect is bone-chilling. If this lady wants you to kill someone, do it."
"As the New Theatre's summer finale of a Shakespearean trilogy, Macbeth is the lineup's most stylized... funkiest, and hardest to ignore."
MACBETH - THE STORY
Scotland has been invaded by the Norwegians, led by King Sweno, who has formed a coalition with the Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth, Thane of Glams, has fought and prevailed, aided by his general Banquo. Returning from the war, Macbeth and Banquo encounter three women who prophesy that Macbeth shall become Thane of Cawdor and King, and Banquo will father a king. The women banish, leaving the stunned men to ponder what has just happened. The Thanes of Ross and Lennox arrive and announce that, indeed, Macbeth has been made Thane of Cawdor and that the man who formerly bore that title has been executed. The first prophesy has been fulfilled. The aged King Duncan greets Macbeth and announces that his eldest son Malcolm will be made Prince of Cumberland and eventually mount the throne. On hearing this, Macbeth determines his course of action, for Malcolm now stands between him and the throne.
At her home, Lady Macbeth awaits the arrival of her husband, who enters to announce that King Duncan will be their houseguest that night. The old king arrives in the company of his men and is greeted by Lady Macbeth. Left alone, Macbeth ponders his options, and half-heartedly decides that he can't take the life of someone who is both the King, his kinsman, and his guest. Lady Macbeth arrives and, sensing her husband's uncertainty, fuels his determination with her words. Macbeth vows to kill the King that night.
Macbeth encounters Banquo, who, like Macbeth, is unable to sleep. Left alone, Macbeth sees a vision of a bloody dagger pointed away from him at the air before him. He tries to grasp it and it eludes him. He gathers up his courage and goes into the king's chamber. Lady Macbeth enters and awaits her husband's return. Macbeth soon does, dazed and half-mumbling about what he has just done. He does not realize that, in his hands, he holds the weapons he has used to commit the murder of the king and his guards. Lady Macbeth guides him away from the scene, as Macduff and Lennox enter the stage in conversation, as the first rays of the sun are coming up. Soon the crime is discovered, and Malcolm, Banquo, and Ross join the others on stage. All vow to seek and punish the guilty party. Left alone on stage, Malcolm and Ross confess their suspicions to each other and decide to flee to England.
Macbeth is now King. The second prophesy has been fulfilled. He encounters Banquo and ponders how, based on the predictions made by the three women, he might stand between himself and his future as King of Scotland. He decides to have Banquo murdered. Consumed by fears and a gnawing guilt, Macbeth confesses to his Lady how he feels. She seems, or at least claims, to sleep free of care.
At a dinner, Macbeth sees visions of the ghosts of two of his victims: King Duncan and Banquo, his former comrade-at-arms. His fit disrupts the celebration and fuels the suspicions that already brew in all around him. Desperate, Macbeth goes out in the open and finds the three old women he encountered not long ago. Much to his amazement, they are now young and beautiful and they sexually entice Macbeth, who surrenders himself to them. They summon visions of young children wearing the crowns of kings. Macbeth demands that they tell his future. They reply that nothing will happen to him for he is invulnerable and can't die by the hand of a man who is of woman born. They add that nothing will happen to him unless the woods of Birnam come to Dunsinane. Macbeth presses on with his questioning and asks who shall be the next king. Will it be Banquo's issue? They vanish before he can get an answer, as he curses them. Macbeth summons help and, as Lennox enters, realizes he has dreamed all that just happened. Out of control with anger, Macbeth vows to take Macduff's Castle by surprise and kill every man, woman, and child.
In England, Ross arrives to deliver to Macduff the terrible news of the killing of his family and the sacking of his castle in Scotland. He, Ross, and Malcolm, aided by the English, will retake their country, the men vow. Macduff asks for the privilege to be the one to kill Macbeth. Macduff, born by caesarean birth, is not of woman born.
In Scotland, at the castle of Macbeth, a doctor and a woman observe Lady Macbeth, now racked with her own guilt, walking and talking in her sleep. Macbeth's stronghold is surrounded by the loyalist Scotts and the English. Macbeth rages on like a hunted animal, feeling he is unassailable. The Doctor informs him that his Lady has died. Macbeth, immune to any pain, muses on the meaning of nothingness as he stares at a flickering candle.
The enemy, led by Malcolm and carrying tree branches from the woods of Birnam, surrounds Macbeth. Macduff and Macbeth fight a battle to the death, which Macduff wins. Malcolm is crowned King of Scotland.
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