On ode to our designers
We've been wrestling the sound and lights and costumes into place over these last three days, and what a massive effort that is! Sometimes I wish we could just present the simple, tight little show we've created in the Weybridge gym, without anything but our actors and Shakespeare's words. It really works that way!
When in the midst of tech, our beautiful show falls flat and looks like a ragged bunch of awkward elements fighting for a purpose. This is when we all feel our worst.
But last night these elements fell into place, with the hard work of so many people, our wonderful Stage Manager, Gwen Zwickel in the lead, learning to call the dozens and dozens of cues, so precisely timed to the words and actions onstage.
Matthew Stone's lights have grown and deepened and darkened and lightened until he finds just the right and most breathtaking combination of light and shadow.
Peter Hamlin has created an eerie and beautiful sound score. Tweaking and retweaking until it fits each moment. Peter wanted to attribute the following sounds as follows:
Peter Hamlin acknowledgments for sounds used in Macbeth.
The following sounds were used from the collaborative sound database Freesound…
Kitten meow (used as one of the witch’s familiars)
Clock wind-up – attribution license (I used a portion of this and mixed it with some of my own sounds)
Beating wings – attribution license (added after owl sound)
Raven caw – (used as one of the witch’s familiars)
Sam Hurlburt painstakingly takes these sound cues and trims/fades/raises and lowers volume until they are just right! His skill is wonderful to see.
Angela Brande and Marykay Dempewoolf are frantically stitching and fitting and outfitting our huge cast in a world of Scottish kilts, cargo pants, and plaids and flack jackets. It comes together to create just the world we want. An indeterminate time, and a time that is close to all.
And then we have the always dependable Sky on the sound board, and we are a team!
And on to the theater!
Goodbye Weybridge Elementary School and hello Town Hall Theater!
The last run though is done; and we are very excited about where this show is. The action flows swiftly and there is not a dull moment. I am so impressed by this cast and the total and absolute commitment this play inspires.
Matthew Stone is hanging lights, Peter Hamlin is putting the finishing touches on the sound design. We begin putting all these elements together tonight.
In honor of the theater gods, we will begin to refer to the play as 'the Scottish Play, and we will begin to refer to Macbeth as 'the Scottish King', once we are in the theater. As Gwen Zwickel, my illustrious stage manager says, "why tempt fate?"
The Fall of Macbeth
For some reason, the cosmic energies of the world have led to multiple theater companies producing Macbeth this Fall.
Because of our rehearsal schedule, I am unlikely to get down to Northern Stage in White River Junction, but they are in the middle of their run of the Scottish Play right now.
From what I gather, by reading Jim Lowe's review, and looking at their poster art, their production is set in modern times and has a strong political point of view. The image of Macbeth's head, his back to us, with his crown in flames and images of destruction within the flames, makes a strong statement about the focus of their production.
This is what is so grand about Shakespeare! There are so many different ways to approach each work.
Our poster is an image of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in an intense moment which brings to mind their relationship and their different feelings and thoughts about the crime they are to commit.
This reflects the main focus of our production, which I would say is the inner battle being waged within Macbeth, and in his relationships.
I urge people to go to both shows, if possible! It is really fascinating to see the different choices that directors and actors make. There is an infinity of room for interpretation, and I guarantee that you will come away stimulated by the differences, and perhaps also, the similarities in our work.
If you haven't seen Northern Stage's beautiful new theater building, this would be an excellent time to go!
Mr. and Mrs. Macbeth...
Two weeks of rehearsal have flown by! Thank god we have such an incredibly responsible and professional group of actors. Everyone has come in prepared, off book, raring to go. It's amazing to see such a complex operation with so many moving parts going along so smoothly. This is, in large part, because of our excellent Stage Manager, Gwen Zwickel, whose organizational skills are unbelievable.
After zipping off to a wedding this weekend, bookended by rehearsals, I am happy to report that Chris, as Lady M. and Craig, as Macbeth, have really started to find their relationship. What is so fun to see developing is a real, complex, intense couple who are not stock villains, but human beings who care deeply about each other. I've probably said it before, but if we cannot care about these people, why watch this show?
There are almost no easy scenes in this play. It may be only 90 minutes long, but the stakes are so high, and the action so intense that teasing it all apart, figuring out what we can mine in each moment, and then putting it back together is a big deal!! Phew. It leaves you ready for a good night's sleep.
Melissa Lourie is the Artistic Director of Middlebury Actors Workshop.