JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania – Something nasty is coming for the 31st season of a local theater company.
William Shakespeare’s tragedy ‘Macbeth’ will be staged by the Band of Brothers Shakespeare Company at 7 p.m. Thursday-July 16 and July 20-23 in the Main Pavilion at Stackhouse Park in Westmont.
Laura Gordon, the show’s director, said the troupe performed the play in 2000 and now seemed like a good time to revisit the story based on current events in the world.
“Society in turmoil”
“It’s a society in turmoil, and it’s very impactful right now,” she said.
“If it’s not one thing, it’s the next thing, and that’s what you see in the game from the opening. They’re at war and there’s no peaceful transfer of power. You have conscience and honor face to face.
Gordon said that although “Macbeth” was written in the 17th century, the story is true today.
“We have a society that can look back and say it’s not new and we haven’t evolved,” she said.
“At the end of the day, Shakespeare’s stories are stories of human beings and humans are imperfect. We try to be perfect, but inevitably we always stumble and fall.
“Macbeth” dramatizes the damaging physical and psychological effects of political ambition on those who seek power for their own good.
The production follows a brave Scottish general named Macbeth who receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that he will one day become King of Scotland.
Driven by ambition and driven to action by his wife, Macbeth assassinates King Duncan and seizes the Scottish throne.
He is then ravaged by guilt and paranoia.
Forced to commit more and more murders to protect himself from enmity and suspicion, he quickly becomes a tyrannical ruler.
The bloodbath and ensuing civil war quickly take Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to the realms of madness and death.
Gordon said Macbeth is the fiercest character in all of Shakespeare’s plays.
“He meets these three witches who predict he will be king, and when it all starts to unravel and come true, his wife steps in,” she said.
“We talk a lot about all of this – do witches predict or plan, and what is their role in the play, and were those ideas already there?”
All Star Cast
Gordon said the show featured a cast of veteran actors and a few newcomers.
“They’ve adopted it and they treat each other with so much respect,” she said.
“I’m not one of those directors who says, ‘Do it my way or take the freeway.’
“I want people to help each other.
“What happens then is that it reticulates into something bigger than a man’s vision.”
Gordon added that it’s exciting to see veteran actors interact with newbie performers and share their expertise.
“That’s how we want it. We always want someone new to come along,” she said.
Doug Meagher, who has been with the company since 1996, portrays the role of Macbeth.
“I like a dark role because I’m normally the comic relief in everything we do,” the Johnstown resident said.
“It’s liberating to play someone who is a complex and faulty character like Macbeth and is on the dark side of things.
“It’s fun to step into that frame and become that character and let the emotions pour out.”
Meagher said he sees Lady Macbeth as the one pulling all the strings.
“She’s the one who sees that Macbeth has a chance to become king and she knows he wouldn’t do anything unethical to make it happen, so she has to push him,” he said.
“Macbeth has ambition, but she’s the one pushing him to go through the bloody legwork to get there. Later, she has regrets and now she can’t stop him, and that pushes them both to the limit. edge of the abyss.
The writing remains relevant
Meagher said Shakespeare’s stories were written hundreds of years ago, but are still relevant today.
“He was a great observer of human character, and we’re not that different from people who lived hundreds of years ago,” he said.
“The language is beautiful to me. His words are like a song, and if you’re able to get into a beat, it’s just amazing.
Lynne McQuillan reprises the role of Lady Macbeth, a role she played in 2000.
“It’s been fun and kinda hard to wonder if I could still do it after 22 years,” the Johnstown resident said.
“For a while it felt awkward, then it felt like home.”
She said Lady Macbeth is a difficult character to play.
“She’s the complete opposite of me, but that part interests me,” McQuillan said.
“He’s someone who is so driven by greed and titles. It’s interesting to tap into that dark side of humanity and see what it can do to you when it invades your psyche.
McQuillan said Lady Macbeth was the real villain of the story.
“Macbeth opens the door by just saying there’s this possibility that he’s king, but he blows it away,” McQuillian said.
“She sees the future and takes him with him because he has to get there. She pushes him, but then the tables turn and she wants him to stop killing people, but there’s no going back. .
She said she hopes the audience will have an entertaining theatrical evening.
“A lot of the story is drawn from nature, so I think it’s really great that we’re providing a place where you’re surrounded by nature that’s referenced throughout,” McQuillan said.
“You can let go of the cares or cares of your world for a few hours and lose yourself in the language, beauty and uniqueness of the park.”
Other actors, actresses
Rounding out the “Macbeth” cast, Dominic Dalton as Malcolm; Anna Davis as Fleance; Iris Davis as Lady Macbeth’s attendant; Kate Davis as Hecate/Doctor; Don Evanisko as Banquo; Albert Ghantous as King Duncan; Jennifer Giuffre as the First Witch; Natalie Kurchak as the murderess; Laken Kurchak as Lady Macduff; Johnny Kurchak as Menteith/Sergeant; Ethan Leydig as Lennox; Robb Miller as Porter; Tony Malvoisin as Macduff; Lisa Paolillo as Lady/Servant; Patricia Schutte as the murderess; KC Schutte as the Third Witch; Owen P. Standley as Ross; and Larisa West as the second witch.
Gordon said the costumes in the play took on a medieval feel.
“I go with a lot of kilts in basic leathers and a variety of colors, and they’re exceptional,” she said.
“The women are wearing traditional medieval costumes with a low waist and long sleeves, and I think they’re going to look fabulous. As audiences, we want to see visually stimulating and pleasing costumes.
Gordon said it’s therapeutic for people to come into the woods and physically be part of the drama.
“I want people to slow down and breathe and feel the magic that’s out there,” she said.
“You have the same moon and stars, Elk Run between you and the mountain gushing up behind you, so there’s therapy in there and words are the ultimate psychiatrist. There’s an old Indian hunting ground there, right next to the stage, where the Indians used to hunt and then gather around the fire to tell stories, and that’s what we do.
Gordon added that the show is the perfect opportunity to introduce young people to Shakespeare.
“It would be wonderful if parents brought their children and took them to the theater,” she said.
“They really appreciate it and they understand. They are still hanging over the shore in the pond, just trying to get closer.
A free shuttle service will be available to transport guests from Westmont Hilltop Elementary School, 827 Diamond Blvd., to and from the game site.
St. Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Church will serve Serbian cuisine for purchase.
Participants are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.
A cover for the public will be reserved.
“There’s no fourth wall in the Band of Brothers Shakespeare Company, and everyone loves it,” Gordon said.
“This year the battles are coming from the public and the king enters through the public, so they will feel part of it.”
Tickets, which are $15 for adults and $10 for students, seniors and military, are available at the door and in advance online at www.bandofbrothersshakespeare.org.