Classic Stage Company
October 26, 2019
|Photo courtesy of Classic Stage Company|
The Classic Stage Company has produced a heart-racing, one hour and forty-minute rendition of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Director John Doyle cuts right to the insatiable lust for power that drives the play, then overshadows it with the overwhelming sense of guilt that brings the downfall of the characters. The cast of nine seamlessly move the action forward, skillfully portraying noble loyalty, voracious cunning, and vengeful retribution.
Macbeth (played by Corey Stoll) is sought after by the three weird sisters (played by the ensemble) to predict his rise to power. When his wife, Lady Macbeth (played by Nadia Bowers) hears the news, she devises a plan to hasten the events. She manipulates her husband to kill King Duncan (played by Mary Beth Peil) to gain the throne. He does the deed as planned and finds it only one of many slaughters to come. He hires assassins to kill his friend Banquo (played by Erik Lochtefeld) in order to secure his position as king. When the ghost of Banquo haunts him, Macbeth is propelled to visit the three weird sisters for an answer to its meaning. Their revelations fuel Macbeth’s thirst for power and hide the clues to his imminent downfall.
|Corey Stoll as Macbeth|
Photo courtesy of Classic Stage Company
John Doyle’s choice to have the three weird sisters played by the ensemble is truly inspired. The theater echoes with their unsettling verse and their evil is existent within every person on stage. He ends the play with the same lines and formation as the opening, showing how this driving force of selfishness is ever present and seductive as events shift and move forward.
Corey Stoll portrays Macbeth as an honorable man, lured into making choices from which he cannot escape. His character is changed after the murder of Duncan. His physical and emotional transformation is clear and strong. He spends the remainder of the play masking his emotional state as he continues to cause harm. As he says to Lady Macbeth, “False face must hide what the false heart doth know.”
|Nadia Bowers as Lady Macbeth|
Photo courtesy fo Classic Stage Company
Nadia Bowers is powerful as Lady Macbeth. She conjures forces within herself to construct her plan and moves on it with unwavering determination. Her mad scene is focused and unnerving. Barzin Akhavan is strong as Macduff, and Raffi Barsoumian is passionate and innocent as Malcolm. Mary Beth Peil is imposing as Duncan, and Erik Lochtefeld is loyal and gentle as Banquo.
This production of Macbeth is boldly conceived and masterfully interpreted. It is playing at Classic Stage Company through December 15. If you are a Macbeth fan, as I am, you will truly enjoy it.