Macbeth: Washington Shakespeare Company

By Gniewek, Ray | American Theatre, September 2007 | Go to article overview
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Macbeth: Washington Shakespeare Company


Gniewek, Ray, American Theatre


Jose Carrasquillo, DIRECTOR: I've had this production of Macbeth in my head since the 1990s. Holinshed's Chronicles, from which the play is drawn, showcases a society that was very primal, animal-like, of the earth. But we usually see the play through the more civilized prism of Elizabethan England. I wanted to tell the story in a way that expressed the play's primitivism, its elemental quality. In our production we used the witches not as plot devices, but as forces of nature directing the action. The three witches were omnipresent and played many of the supporting characters. One patron wrote to tell me that, for him and his wife, it was not a cultural experience, but a visceral one: They were scared to death by the witches!

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Giorgos Tsappas, SCENIC DESIGNER: Macbeth's set consists of three basic elements. The first is a raked triangular stage that slants downward, which is a symbol of flowing water but also an ancient symbol of the womb. The second is a hole in the triangle filled with water, resembling an eye. The third is a series of sculptures and columns presenting a forest. The sculptures are long, skinny, primitive figures drawn from Giacometti. Why Giacometti? His post--World War II sculptures were an emotional expression of suffering and loss, so we crafted similar figures to make an eerie, fantastic forest where darkness rules. The play's 10 actors at times blend in with the sculptures--there are 9 of them, plus one red center column--to become part of the forest, a single entity.

Ayun Fedorcha, LIGHTING DESIGNER: Macbeth marked my 19th collaboration with Jose.

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