Although Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a familiar play to many people, the Loomis Chaffee production of this classic tale of treachery, ambition, madness, and murder offered plenty of surprises in its successful four-performance run November 6–9 in the Norris Ely Orchard Theater.
The show’s playbill teased the idea of theatrical surprises, and the cast and crew delivered: a set constructed at skewed angles; gender-fluid casting; lighting incongruous with the stage action; and costumes designed with masculine and feminine elements for characters of both sexes. The combination of unexpected elements created an atmosphere that was “recognizable, yet vaguely unfamiliar” as Director Will Eggers noted in the playbill.
Junior John Howley drew from his deep inventory of facial expressions to depict Macbeth succumbing to his own murderous ambition, driven by the foreshadowing of the three weird sisters and the evil desires of Lady Macbeth. The weird sisters — a departure from the script’s three witches — were played with sinister and haunting movement and voices by senior Emma Goldfarb, junior Julie Chung, and sophomore Grace Thompson. Junior Lana Breheney commanded attention as the cruel and manipulative Lady Macbeth, who descends into madness and, with a maniacal scream, takes her own life. And senior Grace Kulas embodied a grieving and wrathful Macduff, who takes down Macbeth and ends his bloody reign of terror.
The tragedy unfolded at a compelling pace, thanks to the cast’s successful delivery of the challenging Shakespearean dialogue, the actors’ exciting and convincing fight choreography, and the smoothly-executed technical cues.
Will, who also teaches English and is a Shakespearean scholar, was joined by several Loomis Chaffee faculty on the production team, including Assistant Director Kate Saxton and Production Manager Candice Chirgotis. The NEO production of Macbeth represents the inherent versatility of Shakespeare's work and the creativity of the students, faculty, and professional assistants of Loomis' Theater & Dance Department.
View a copy of the show's playbill for the director’s note; a complete list and bios of cast members, student technicians, and the production team; and acknowledgements.
Connect to view a gallery of photos from Macbeth.