Thursday, July 22, 2010

Toil, Trouble & Hurlyburly for Macbeth at Rockwood

Macbeth is one of William Shakespeare's great tragedies. There's murder, battles, psychosis and supernatural portents. Characters are malicious, avaricious and (in the case of the title character envisioning a dead Banquo), fictitious.
Founder of DE Shakespeare Festival and this production's director, Molly Cahill McGovern chose the straightforward path, trusting both the text and her actors to engage the audience in the allure of these wondrous words, the images they create in your mind and the drama of the conflict. This approach is successful.
Aisle Say had forgotten much of the luxuriant phrases from “Macbeth” which are part of our language today: “double, double, toil and trouble”, “nothing in his life became him like the leaving of it”,“screw your courage to the sticking place”,”what's done cannot be undone”, “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace, etc”.
It's an honor for an actor to be cast in a Shakespearean play. He learns far more from the experience than does the audience. It's not merely in the speaking of the words. That is not enough. Great Shakespearean actors are enraptured by the rhyme, the meter, the poetry and the basic human condition applying to all us that the words convey.
This was the issue Aisle Say had with the title character played by David Blatt. He never dropped a line. Yet rather than caressing the words he declaimed them. His portrayal of the character's devolution into madness was too abrupt; a progression into insanity would have been more believable.
Lady Macbeth (Allyson Sands Good) used the different octaves of her speaking voice to portray her wicked machinations. She projected a queenly, patrician demeanor. She was particularly effective in the scene where she attempts to wash Duncan's blood from her hands, “out damn spot”.
Banquo (Adam Altman) and Macduff (Erik Mathew) are fine actors. One could see in both the 'thinking' going on before they spoke. This aspect made the prose more believable. Mathew's reaction and soliloquy on the murder of his wife and children at the hands of the now psychopathic Macbeth was both sincere and dynamic.
It is picturesque to sit on a blanket or lawn chair at Rockwood. The backdrop of the Mansion is powerful. Some guests bring picnic baskets. At sunset, the lighting (the castle was lit in blood red) provides drama and focus and makes the audience feel part of the action.
This production is short by Shakespearean standards. Length sometimes creates problems with those not completely enamored of the words of The Bard. However, Aisle Say suggests the entire audience was engaged through the proceedings.
Delaware Shakespeare Festival has come a very long way in their span. They use actor apprentices who will remember their lines for the rest of their lives. They've been averaging 300 people on weekends; a very good sign that Will is alive and will continue to prosper in Delaware.
Tickets are quite reasonable and this is a wonderful way to introduce your children or grandchildren to Shakespeare.
Till July 31. Online only.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tickets are also available for purchase at the venue an hour fifteen minutes before the performance! Come early and don't miss the college apprentice show which explains a little about the history of the production and the superstition behind the play's title. Bring your own blanket or chairs. A little inside tip, people with blankets are seated toward the front of the lawn while those in high backed chairs are seated in the rear. Get there early for blanket seating!