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Mace & Crown | May 25, 2017

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‘Macbeth’: An Old Tale Shown A’New

‘Macbeth’: An Old Tale Shown A’New
Becca Barnett
Contributing Writer

On Friday, April 15, the Core Theatre Ensemble presented the classic Shakespearean play “Macbeth” at the Goode Theatre. The performance was one of many taking place during the week-long celebration of the Renaissance poet, “Shakespeare Four Hundred Years After: A Public Event.”

Old Dominion University alumni Edwin Castillo and Emel Ertugrul head the Core Theatre Ensemble and were delighted to bring “Macbeth” to their alma mater. The duo performs, teaches, writes and creates their original work all over the world.

“Macbeth” was first performed between 1605 and 1606. Inspired by the real Macbeth who killed his cousin, King Duncan I, in a battle for the throne, Shakespeare wrote the play for commercial reasons. King James I was rumored to have been fascinated by witches, so Shakespeare knew the play would go over well with the masses.

The Core Theatre Ensemble’s contemporary adaptation of the century-old tragedy included modern music and revitalized costumes. Instead of armor, swords and petticoats, the actors wore clip-on camo vests, business suits and glittering form-fitting gowns. They wielded guns and switch blades and used cell phones and walkie-talkies to communicate their dialogue. When it came time to make Macbeth’s potion, a martini shaker was used as the cauldron.

Even with all the changes to the look and sound, the play remained true to the expectations of a traditional Shakespearean play. The language was authentic and perfectly performed, and the actors never faltered.

Just like a 17th century production, the set design left the audience imagining the actors’ surroundings. With only a large white screen in the background, which allowed the technical crew to project different colored light for each scene, the actors were free to move around and interact with one another on the whole stage.

The audience “oh-ed” and “ah-ed,” reacting at all the appropriate times. In a scene where the witch sprays water from her mouth all over Macbeth, the audience was in tears laughing. When the play was over, everyone enthusiastically applauded the hardworking actors.

Everyone was in high spirits after the play and could be heard saying how much they enjoyed the unique rendition. Unfortunately, the Shakespeare Festival concluded on April 20, but those lucky enough to witness the Core Theatre Ensemble’s original interpretation of “Macbeth” will surely be talking about the experience for weeks to come.