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Co-Founder & Artistic Director Danielle Edmonds acted in a virtual production of Macbeth. Our good friends Maddie, Raina, and Isa produced this incredible show that many members of our community were a part of! Check out this review by Juan Recondo of an amazing educational Shakespeare production.

The Three Witches and their Macbeth: Review of Macbeth

 

The new production of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth by the Witches’ Macbeth, directed by Ed Eaton, is an effective exploration of the text through Zoom, the video platform that has become so popular after social distancing mandates during COVID-19. The work rearranges certain events in the original and expands on some of the characters, while never losing sight of the staging conditions dictated by Zoom. The original play shows the rise and fall of Macbeth, a Scottish general, whose rampant ambition makes him kill and betray those around him until his demise. In Shakespeare’s text, Macbeth’s downfall is his ambition for power, yet he is pushed over the edge by the women who interact with him: his wife and the Weird Sisters, the witches who prey on his flaws. At the beginning, the witches show their power to tell the future by revealing to Macbeth how he will rise through the ranks and ultimately position himself as the king. They symbolize the female temptresses who lead the powerful male to his destruction. Lady Macbeth inadvertently finishes the witches’ work by pushing Macbeth to act and making him go against his conscience. This misogynistic story with an endangered fragile masculinity at the center is challenged by this new production by casting Madeline Jewell in the role of Macbeth. Through this unique casting choice, the production showcases Macbeth’s descent to hell moved by her own ambition, pushed to action by Raina Silver’s sensual portrayal of Lady Macbeth, and finally obliterated by the witches’ constant interventions. Although Macbeth is never recognized in the production as a woman, this interpretation brings about a new reading of the story: how the Weird Sisters provoke Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into challenging the political hierarchies of the kingdom. 

 

The production concept allows for each character to shine in their own way. Using Zoom’s layout in their favor, each character has a particular frame that they inhabit in the screen and each space becomes a reflection of each one’s inner world. For example, Macbeth’s gradual descent into hell is shown by having the character in a clearly lighted spot at the beginning and then obscuring the character’s area as the play progresses. The platform emphasizes the brilliant work by the lighting designer, Emma Satchell; the sound designer, Makenna Olson; the set designer, Emma Mueller; and the costume designer, Madeline Jewell. Each space has its dominant color, costume choices, and struggle between light and shadow. At the same time, by putting the spotlight on each independent character as they interact with others, a small character such as Dante (a combination of various minor characters from the original text) acquires a certain grandeur aided by Andrés Garza’s intense performance. The production is clearly aware of the opportunities that this platform provides and even expands on the characters of the three witches. The darkly red Luxuria, played by Isabella Gómez; the white-clad and deceivingly innocent Avaritia, played by Stephanie Cha; and Ira, played by Chloe Citron, who is always surrounded in shadows, are three well developed characters that truly surpassed my expectations. These three witches deserve their own play wreaking havoc on mere mortals. This production is a solid exploration of Shakespeare’s original during the time of the pandemic.

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Juan Recondo is an Adjunct Professor at the City University of New York and New York University. He teaches Latinx Theatre, Latin American Theatre, English Composition, and Public Speaking. His main fields of research are Latinx and Latin American Theatre and Performance, Black Cinema, and Postcolonial Theory. He is in the process of publishing his dissertation, The Other at War: Performing the Spanish-Cuban-American War on U.S. and Cuban Stages.

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