Run outside, turn around three times, spit, curse, then knock for entrance should the title of “The Scottish Play” leave thine lips! But superstitions aside, the Round Table Theater Company’s production of "Macbeth" is nothing to spit at. A well-rounded cast with some standout performances and creative direction seems to have lifted the curse, at least for this cast.
Shakespearean Couture. Seeing as Macbeth has been performed countless times and can be found on the syllabuses for endless English courses, I’ll not waste time rehashing the popular plot. (If you need a refresher check out the indie flick "Scotland, PA." Shakespeare for hipsters.)
The first and most memorable moment for me happened when the three witches made their initial entrance. Some eerie music played, their voices seemed to echo from the warehouse studio ceilings, and they emerged clothed in what I can only describe as “Shakespeare Couture.” Black dresses with a simple green braided belt, but each catered to the actress beneath the fabric.
For the First Witch, Dianne B., a slim waist and a high belt flattered not only her figure, but also her pointed and direct performance. She fit in the middle of her two conniving conspirators with poise and leadership. Anita Sorel (what a great name!) as the Second Witch wore her belt over her shoulder as a sash and like Miss Scotland showed off her talents for concocting a trippy cocktail, hypnotizing the audience with her eyes, and singing out the ominous warning of “Something wicked this way comes.” Bonnie Grice with the most risqué robe and her belt falling off her hips no doubt was the witch in charge of luring in the unsuspecting prey.
Costume designer Yuka Silvera didn’t stop at the high end dresses, the witches also wore a combination headdress/veil made of black tulle that completed their “other-worldly” ensemble. They were the most beautifully creepy witches in Scotland.
Splash Zone. Audience beware, you just may be part of the show! The Round Table Theater Co. brings an almost theater-in-the-round experience by utilizing LTV’s large space to create a Thrust Stage. The audience fills in the sides as well as the front of the house, and the actors utilize each aisle for entrances, exits, and as extra performance space. Josh Gladstone, who played the Scottish Nobleman Ross, also doubled as the Porter, a drunken man set to watch the gate by night. We had already seen him many times on stage as Ross, his booming voice filled the cavernous space and I was drawn to him especially in his moments without lines as he guzzled water from his fur lined canteen and wrapped himself in sorrow over sharing the sad news of a friends loss. But when he came on as the Porter there was not a bit of Ross to him. He made crude jokes with some ladies sitting to the side of stage left and then he stumbled over to stage right and plopped right down on a man’s lap and gave him a swig of his ale! (Was it any good Stephen?)
Lady Macbeth, played by Morgan Vaughn, also utilized the proximity of the audience. I was entranced by her especially during the dinner scene when Macbeth, played passionately by Jeff Keogh, fell into fits of madness over seeing the man he had murdered sitting in his seat at the table. Her face remained calm and her voice consoling as she reassured their guests that her husband’s insanity was as inconsequential as a hiccup but in a blink her eyes revealed the terror she felt at the thought of losing what they had killed for. I appreciated being so close to the actors to catch those small twitches and movements that shared what might have been missed from the mezzanine.
Shakespeare Goes Green. Upon entering the studio we were handed a scroll tied up with a red ribbon, this served as a unique playbill, which listed the talent and benefactors with only one advertisement. Supplementary information about the show, including pronunciation and definitions of words from the play, which were quite helpful, was projected onto a screen prior to the performance. This was an entertaining and clever way to save trees, especially considering how many those clever soldiers chopped down from the Birnam Wood to trick poor Macbeth.
They utilized the screen and projections throughout the show as well, saving on set pieces by showing artistic renditions and at times Tom Hooper-esque angles of photos to set each scene. I loved the austere set made of multi-functional stone cubes that were used for the bubbling cauldron, a table, a bench, and the center even folded up to become Malcolm’s throne.
Best seat in the house: Skip the front row and head for the taller stools in the back. The actors utilize the aisles for asides so save your neck, sit back, and take in the whole picture.
Don’t Miss! Three shows left this weekend, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at LTV Studios, 75 Industrial Road, East Hampton. Tickets are online at ltveh.org/index.php/macbethtickets or by calling 631-537-2777.