Posted by: Staff | 12.17.2007

“Macbeth” was an action-packed spectacle

JESSICA PENZIAS ‘08

I attended the Beaver production of Macbeth on Friday November 9. Upon my entrance to Black Box Theater, I was immediately engrossed, albeit startled, when loud thunderous sounds and stimulating swordplay caught me off guard. Despite the overpowering fog machine, which engulfed the audience and incited numerous coughing fits, the atmosphere was extremely impressive. Actors hovered over the audience suspended on hanging wooden platforms, swordplay occurred feet in the air on the top tier of the multilevel set, and the scene was extended into the audience when soldiers, witches, and royalty marched past audience members. As a result, the twenty-first century audience members became embedded in the Elizabethan world, and intermission felt like time-traveling back to the future. I have seen many performances in the Black Box, but it is safe to say that Macbeth’s set far surpassed the rest.

I was initially skeptical about the casting of the play. The part of Macbeth, a typically overtly masculine character, was played by Olivia Carye-Hallstein. As a literature student, I view Macbeth as an alpha male character who is entirely emasculated by his calculating wife. As Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth, his size and strong masculine features highlight his inability to maintain the typical male power in his relationship. However, as an audience member, I had to suspend my dismay when the large, tough, male was depicted by a female. While I still stand by my belief that the audience cannot truly comprehend the emasculation of Macbeth when he is played by a female, Olivia’s impressive performance enabled me to stifle my uncertainty.

Additionally, the supporting cast’s enthusiasm was apparent from the beginning. They all assumed their roles well. Despite a few missed lines and stumbles over the difficult Shakespearean language, the performances were impressive. Standout performances include Sam Tincler, who played the role of Lady Macbeth. One of her numerous assets was her ability to permit the audience to fully comprehend her thoughts, motives, and emotions despite the language barrier. Mr. Manning also put on an admirable performance. While some may argue that Mr. Manning’s acting was unparalleled, I personally believe Sam stole the show.

Other highlights of the play included the numerous complex fight scenes (particularly those between Olivia & Vivek and Olivia & Dan) and a comical monologue performed by Michael Firer. Overall, the play was immensely enjoyable. Good work everyone!

Image from: Beaver web site

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Responses

  1. What an eye-opening look at one of the many wonderful theatre procductions put on by the Beaver Country Day School. Truly remarkable, I felt as if I was there, amidst the action and acting. Nearly brought me to tears…..

  2. As a Theatre Critic, I am sure that the writer of this review did not intend to please the production personel of the play. But, alas, it has.
    I will keep this artical It speaks clearly and politly to what our production did and did not say.

    PS
    I am sory, but I think it was my sister-in-law that had the coughing issue.


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