Director Blanka Zizka creates a dazzling visual and aural production of Macbeth but seems to miss the mark of natural passion and enthusiasm often associated with this popular piece. Her team designers for sound (Daniel Perelstein), lighting (Tyler Micoleau), and sets (Mimi Lien) create the ideal mood for mystery and murder complete with eerie lights, rustling leaves, deadening silence and shadows.
Macbeth is a story of ambition, atrocity and anguish told as one man’s journey into madness within a world of political domination. We open with a man who appears by all outward signs to be a noble and just, even an admirable man. We slowly watch as this man of royalty is driven literally mad by ambition and the world around him.
The play begins on a dusky moor with three witches casting spells. Macbeth is travelling home across the moor and is told by the witches that one day he will be crowned King of Scotland. After sharing this news with his wife, her ambitions come into play – forcing Macbeth to kill various key noblemen including Duncan the King of Scotland.
Macbeth is a dark, cold play and the Wilma portrays that concept in its set design. Thereâ€™s a forest of steel beams and impressive use of huge dimly lit walls where people slip and vanish in the shadows and the â€˜weird sistersâ€™ literally climb the walls and drop down like prophesying spiders; quite a clever touch! Its unadorned faÃ§ade sets the mood for a play that comes across as cold and overly attentive to delivering the script.
Macbeth or the “Scottish play” is one of Shakespeare’s key tragedies which includes an explosive story line which can easily be applied to a range of modern settings, which the Wilma chooses to excersize, with a bizarre distracting park scene that detracts from one of the most emotionally packed dialogues of the story.
With solid acting by CJ Wilson (Macbeth) and Jacqueline Anataramian (Lady Macbeth), Albert Jones (MacDuff), Luigi Scottile (Malcom), the heavy material is in good hands despite the all to obvious importance of punching out the lines effectively.
Macbeth plays at the Wilma Theater through November 13. For tickets and information: www.wilmatheatre.org or call 215.546.7824
Photo (LEFT): From Left to Right; Rachael Joffred (Weird Sister), CJ Wilson (Macbeth), Krista Apple (Weird Sister), Nako Nadodoadji (Weird Sister)
Photo (RIGHT): Jacqueline Antaramian (Lady Macbeth), CJ Wilson (Macbeth)
Photo Credits:Jim Roese