‘Macbeth’ brings sound and fury to Atwood

February 18, 2016
Théodore Chassériau [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Théodore Chassériau [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Witches cursed, ghosts haunted, guilty hands were stained with stubborn blood, and once again, as he has on countless stages for almost 400 years, the murderous Macbeth met the fate he deserved.

It all took place in Shakespeare & Company’s 2016 touring production of “Macbeth” in Atwood Hall, Feb. 3-5. The performance was funded by the Margaret W. and Richard P. Traina Endowed Fund for Shakespeare and the Arts.

The cast consisted of six actors playing multiple roles, each character represented by a slight change in costume. At the end of each performance, the actors answered questions from the audience.

“Macbeth,” or, as it is known in theater circles, “the Scottish Play,” is fraught with superstition, the actors told the audience following the Feb. 4 performance. Legend has it that even saying the name “Macbeth” in a theater will bring bad luck upon a performance. Several of the Shakespeare & Company actors confessed to believing in the curse, though, as one acknowledged, “It is hard to avoid [saying the name] when doing the play.”

The actors described the challenges and fun they had playing multiple roles, noting the “interesting transitions” when quickly switching characters.

They also reflected on mastering Shakespearean dialogue. Kaileela Hobby, who played Lady Macbeth, said she had an easier time learning her lines because of the iambic pentameter — the rhythmic word pattern in which Shakespeare wrote. For Zoe Laiz, who played Lady Macduff, the key was in finding “the intention behind the words.”

One of the classic features of Macbeth is the appearance of the witches. The actors noted the witches’ costumes were a gauzy, sheer fabric draped over their bodies that allowed them freedom of movement and also helped inform the characters.

In addition to the three performances at Clark, the company also gave a free performance to more than 200 Worcester students from Claremont Academy and University Park Campus School.

— Kate Rafey ’08, M.P.A. ’09