In this production, in traditional Shakespearian style, almost all actors played multiple roles. Left, Jake Smith plays Macbeth, Lily Starr plays Lady Macbeth. Right: Stephaney Wilson plays Ross, Kristen Barnes plays Lennox, and Simon Belcher plays a gentleman. All of these actors except Smith played multiple roles.

In this production, in traditional Shakespearian style, almost all actors played multiple roles. Left, Jake Smith plays Macbeth, Lily Starr plays Lady Macbeth. Right: Stephaney Wilson plays Ross, Kristen Barnes plays Lennox, and Simon Belcher plays a gentleman. All of these actors except Smith played multiple roles.

By Anna Mayes
Elm Staff Writer
On Nov. 11-12, senior Kaitlyn Fowler brought William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” to campus for her senior directing thesis.
“As a nation, and a world, we have spent the past year questioning who should have power and what that can mean for a country,” said Fowler. “I knew that either way, by the end of election day, some of the country would be happy and some would be very upset.”
Fowler knew that there would be people from “both sides of the aisle” in the audience, and loved the idea of the audience being predisposed to think about so many of the big ideas of the play.
The election had an effect not only on the audience, but also on the cast members.
“Since one of the play’s most obvious and important themes is power, I think it will have more of an impact,” said Simon Belcher, who played Macduff and Duncan.

Washington College Drama Department production of Macbeth, By William Shakespeare. A Directing SCE from Kaitlyn Fowler. (11/10/2016) Photo by Paul W. Gillespie

Washington College Drama Department production of Macbeth, By William Shakespeare. A Directing SCE from Kaitlyn Fowler. (11/10/2016) Photo by Paul W. Gillespie

“Our President-elect almost seems like a character Shakespeare himself would write,” said G.T. Svanikier, who played Banquo.
“Given the outcome of the election, we wanted people to come in to escape the outside world and see the effects power has on a person and society,” said Jake Smith, who played Macbeth.
“The big idea of our play has been ‘evil lives in the grey,’” said Fowler. This led her to emphasize ideas of mental illness, corruption, and passion, as they all blur the line of what is good or bad and how people can perceive things in those ways.
“I also specifically wanted to set the play in its own alternative world that is post-apocalyptic in nature,” she said. “Part of that is because the society depicted in the play is already really violent and off kilter before the main events of the play ever start.” She did not want Macbeth’s world to be read as some sweet utopia that one man wrecks.
“I think this production’s setting is what sets it apart,” said Belcher. The post-apocalyptic elements helped branch some of the strange divides in the play between its traditional elements and the more modern ideas.
“The play is founded in ideas of bravery and honor, which are traditional in nature, but some of the strongest characters in the play are female, such as Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff,” said Fowler.
The setting gave the actors a chance to play with these ideas and throw power dynamics into question. “In order to make that happen we had our dramaturg Sarah Graff create a list of rules and commonplace ideas for the world we were creating,” Fowler said, “That way, all of our designers, cast, and crew were all playing in the same big world, which helped create a sense of unity and understanding for the team.”
Since the show has such a dark and violent nature, it was really important for Fowler to have a warm and safe rehearsal space. “When choosing my cast, designers, and crew, I specifically looked for people who were not just talented, but who bring humor and energy into a room,” she said. “Because of that, we were able to avoid a lot of pressure and stress for the vast majority of our rehearsal process.”
For most of the actors, this was one of the most challenging plays they had been in, but with Fowler’s feedback and their own character development, they were pushed to be better actors.
“It’s been really exciting, fulfilling, and life changing to direct this show, and I am so proud of what we shared with the campus,” she said.
The cast and crew of “Macbeth” had a difficult task, but they pulled it off with dedication and determination.

The Elm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

In case you have missed it

In case you have missed it