Macbeth Jerry Zellers, Scott J. Sumerak, Nick Koesters, Elizabeth Margaret Chamberlain, Joe Bandille, James Helms Written by: William Shakespeare Directed by: Donald Squires Macbeth opened at the Beck Canter for Arts, Cleveland on November 11, 1998 When I went to see this play, I was expecting a dramatically breath-taking performance. Much to my surprise, I found this version of the legendary Macbeth to be dull and, in my view, a nightmare on stage. To me, Shakespeare’s plays are works of art and I do not believe this performance lived up to the greatness of the Skakespearean artform. The set of the play was plain but it fit it’s purpose quite well. Every scene took place in a different spot on the stage which kept the play moving and also kept the audience from dying of boredom. The set also went along with the time frame in which the play was to take place. The scene was a high set platform, looking as if it were made of stone, in the middle of the stage along with stairs and ramps leading up and down from the top. Placed behind the platform were three precariously set castle towers which set the time frame back in the middle ages. The effects used in the play had a double effect on the mood. At some times, the effects and lighting added to the plot, but at others, the effects and the lighting, especially, added to the dullness of the performance as a whole. The use of mist and eerie lighting in Act 3, Scene 5 made the mood mysterious yet inviting which added well to the breath-taking acting of the three witches. The plain lighting used throughout the play, however, made some of the scenes boring. If more capturing lighting had been used, the play may have been more interesting. The acting, on the most part, was excellent, but when it came to Banquo and Macbeth, I was bored stiff. I give all the actors and actresses respect for being capable of performing in front of large audiences but I found that some of the actors didn’t capture the feeling and mood of their roles. The portrayal of Macbeth, for instance, was one of the worst I have ever seen. Nick Koesters (Macbeth) has one of the dullest voices I have ever heard and honestly, I nodded off a few times while he was “acting”, if you can call reciting lines acting. If the role of Macbeth had been portrayed by someone with a little more emotion, the play would not have been such a disaster. Actors and actresses like those who played Malcolm, the three witches and Lady Macbeth kept me into the play because they caught my attention. They played their roles well and deserve to be given credit for their performances. If it wasn’t for acting like theirs, this play would have been a lost cause and a complete was of time.
The language in the play was utterly confusing, which I had previously expected. There wasn’t much that could have been done about the language on the part of the actors but I found the Old English to be puzzling. I found it difficult to read and understand Macbeth and trying to watch and understand it was ten times worse. Many times, I found myself lost in a state of cunfusion because I couldn’t follow what was taking place on the stage. The language was another factor that added to the dullness of the play by making the bad actors worse because one couldn’t uderstand what they were saying, or trying to say, for that matter. The Beck Center was very uncomfortable. The seats were very hard and were not very sturdy. Whoever designed the theatre couldn’t have been familiar with the normal set up of theatres because from where I was sitting, the middle of the stage was not in view because I couldn’t see past the head of the person in front of me. Throughout the play I was unsuccessfully attempting to get into a position in which I was comfortable and able to see what was going on. I have never been in a theatre where the seats were that awful, which is pretty pathetic considering I have been to alot of theatres. Everytime I, or someone else, would shift positions, the seats would sqeak drawing my attention away from the play and focusing it on the obnoxious and constant disturbing noises that surrounded me. The ridiculous conditions of the theatre were yet more factors that made this performance of Macbeth a disgrace. Basically, this performance of Macbeth was utterly disgusting and I wouldn’t be surprised if Shakespeare himself rolled over in his grave because of it. My views of Shakespeare have altered slightly because of this experience and I believe that the majority of the people who saw this play can relate. If I ever see Macbeth again, I doubt it will be in the theatre. I will watch it in the luxury of my own home where I can attempt to understand and enjoy this legendary masterpiece.