Devin Brain Macbeth

The Acting Company's "Macbeth": What Was Good Was Good

Sunday, March 22, 2015 Cora

When you are excited for something there’s the risk of it not being as good as expected. The director Devin Brain said he’s loved this play since he was a teenager. I loved his answers in the interview. "Macbeth" is a challenging play to read much less stage and perform. Shakespeare is a different language for actors to speak. But it was being done by The Acting Company. What was good was very good and what was “meh” was very disappointing.

Picture by Heidi Bohnenkamp What was new was very good and enjoyable. A drum beat played as you entered the theatre and throughout the play, bringing nice parallels to “A Tell Tale Heart”. The Steampunk/post-apocalyptical feel to the stark set and costumes complete with boots, scarves and goggles gave it a fresh, timeless nature. Macbeth wiped blood on the wall after every kill. It progressed from disgusted, trying to clean his hands to triumphant and marveling at his trophies. The Weird Sister stayed onstage for almost the entire play, speaking some lines in unison with other characters, adding menace and foreboding, a reminder fate is always present. There is music to Shakespeare and Brain captured and showcased the musicality of the words. The chants were haunting, some of the dialogue hypnotic, and the rhythm of some of the lines volleying back and forth between characters was a pleasure to see and feel. Brain said he hoped to give the audience a moment of empathy for Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. I didn’t have one. There wasn’t clear and driving motivation behind their actions, besides the witch calling him “King” and well, hey, that’s a possibility. Yes, they’re social climbing, but why? I wanted to see why. I would have liked to see more of a pause when Macduff heard his wife and children had been slaughtered, a pause for him to take it in and process it, “feel it as a man” as he says. I’m glad he wasn’t over the top beside himself, but the delivery came off as, “They were killed? Bummer.”
Picture by Heidi Bohnenkamp Lady Macbeth is one of the most powerful characters in literature and many actresses look forward to the opportunity to play her. I have seen her so conniving and manipulative when she breaks down in the end you feel it’s just. I’ve also seen her as an Iron Butterfly, a balance of fierce strength draped in femininity. The performance can be subtle. Friday she was not strong, but closer to a needy housewife. She’s a character you can love to hate or at least understand where she’s coming from. I was wondering what she was doing. Last but not least, we all know fights are choreographed like a dance, but that doesn’t mean they should be performed in a way that would make Fosse proud. Macduff and Macbeth fight each other for their lives, their loved ones, what they believe in, and it was cheesy. Choices that could have been risks paid off. Some aspects of performance that was expected of a company of this caliber did not.

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