Macbeth at St. Andrews
As the latest production of Macbeth is rehearsed, two St. Andrews students have taken the time to share insights into the production of this classic. Shows will take place Showtimes March 19th at 7:30 P.M., March 20th at 8:30 P.M, March 21st at 2 P.M, and March 26 and 27th at 7:30 P.M.Check out their insights below.
By Anna Egeln
More than a dozen actors are rehearsing night after night, day after day, running scene after scene, getting ready to bring Shakespeare’s most intriguing and bloodiest tragedy to life.
Macbeth opens this weekend at St. Andrews Presbyterian College. The tragedy is directed by St. Andrews theatre professor Mark Mannette, a veteran director of more than 100 plays.
This classic work has all the elements of a perfect thriller. It features sinister witches with their evasive prophecies, a power- hungry wife who eggs her husband on to get a crown that doesn’t rightfully belong to him, a war-hardened man who kills his way to the throne, visits from ghosts, lots of bloodshed, cunning plots and then of course, the tragic and dramatic climax all performed on a stage transformed into a medieval castle.
Richard (Dick) Vance, a senior, plays an intriguing Macbeth.
“Dick has been working extremely hard; Macbeth is one of the largest Shakespeare roles,” Mannette said about his leading man.
Greta Friesen, another senior, who last was seen as Blanche in “A Streetcar named Desire”, also is a member of the 15 person cast.
“This is my favorite Shakespeare play," Friesen said. “Lady Macbeth is one of the greatest female characters ever written, and I am so excited to play her.”
Vance shares Friesen’s enthusiasm. “It’s going to be a good time," he said. "There are fight scenes; it's really fun. We have a fighting director [Chris Wood].”
Macbeth is a play of contradiction and ambition. Driven to becoming King, Macbeth will kill all and any that get in his way. He puts his faith in the words and prophesies of three witches after their first prediction comes true. Macbeth's wife, Lady Macbeth, is instrumental in serving as Macbeth's ambition; egging him on when he fears he has gone too far.
“Shakespeare is a different test, as always, it’s cool to see the pieces come together,” said Friesen. “This play is a play everyone should come see.”
Special features in St. Andrew’s version of Macbeth include the realistic fight scenes and a choreographed dance performed by witches around a cauldron. Alex King, a junior at St. Andrews, serves as choreographer for the witches and doubles as a performer.
“The dance is simple and the other girls caught on really fast,” King said. “We’re all really eager to perform it.”
The costumes for St. Andrew’s Macbeth are another unique feature. They are all created from scratch to match 11th century sensibilities, when Macbeth was alive. Friesen, who plays Lady Macbeth, also designed the costumes, and Renee Jones, director of Career Services at the school, helped create the color coordinated gowns and tunics.
“My job was to get the costumes all put together in less than one week. It was an exciting challenge and turned out to be fun. In a few days we had over 20 new costumes for the production,” Jones said.
Guest appearances by St. Andrews staff and faculty are another great reason to see the play. In addition to making sure the student population can add and subtract, St. Andrews mathematics professor, Joe Harris, enjoys playing Duncan, the King, but most of all he loves bringing the text to life.
"When I'm analyzing the character, I find myself using a lot of the same thought processes as when I analyze a math problem," Harris said. Harris also relished the words of the Arden "Macbeth" text that was required reading for the actors. "I actually have four versions of Macbeth, but I enjoyed Arden's scientific approach to language and what it means."
Along with Professor Joe Harris, St. Andrews Dean of Students Marti Newbold makes an appearance as Hecate, the queen of all witches. Her role is to direct supernatural happenings.
And although the subject matter in this bloody piece seems all doom and gloom, the cast of 15 make it full of high spirits. There are laughs and jokes flowing throughout rehearsals.
“It is an interesting story. It’s meant to be fun. It’s meant to be performed,” Mannette said.
By Jaquese Smith
The St.Andrews Presbyterian College theatre program, a Project Romulus presentation will be putting on one of William Shakespeare greatest plays, Macbeth.
Getting the opportunity to interview some of the cast members, Mark Mannette, director of the play and Chris Wood, the fight director, was a great chance to find out some “behind the scenes”.
Many of the actors took their own interest in participating in Macbeth. Greta Friesen, who is playing Lady Macbeth, has played major parts in previous plays. With her experience, playing this major role was just a walk in the park. Greta explained that Lady Macbeth is a manipulative, conniving character and Greta thinks she’s a genius. She also adds that Lady Macbeth is the driving force behind her husband committing the murders that he does to become the King of Scotland. Greta’s personality is no where near Lady Macbeth’s character traits. Could this be a challenge for Greta?
Alex King is playing one of the witches along with other minor characters. Playing multiple parts, Alex says that playing the role of the witch is her favorite. Alex is the first witch and she’s in charge of the two other witches. Being in charge is something that Alex enjoys doing and her being the first witch, there isn’t any other part in the play she would do. These three witches can see into the future and they are the ones who tell Macbeth that he is soon to be King of Scotland.
Macbeth, who is played by Richard Vance, is a character that would do anything to rule the country of Scotland. Richard says that being a major character is a lot of hard work and dedication but he’s excited to play the character of Macbeth. Come out to see if Richard worked hard enough to fulfill the desperate character of Macbeth. In the play, there are a few fight scenes. These are not just any ordinary fights but it’s confrontation with real swords! Mark Mannette didn’t just give these actors swords and let them improvise, he actually got a fight director to come in and work with the actors. Chris Wood, the fight director, came to rehearsals and showed the actors proper techniques and safety tips in dealing with real swords. We wouldn’t want to see anyone bleeding or get stabbed; so good think Mark had a professional to come in and help!
With the amazing stage set, costumes, surprise appearances from the faculty and staff and the hard work from the students of St.Andrews College, come out and support them.
The ticket prices are $ 6 and $3 for students.
Photos by Kimberly Graves
About St. Andrews Presbyterian College
An innovative and bold academic venture, the distinctive character of St. Andrews has been marked by an interdisciplinary curriculum, a highly acclaimed college press, an award-winning pipe band, national champion equestrian teams, and first-rate scholarship. In addition to classes on the main campus, adult learners also choose the Center for Adult and Professional Studies opportunities through St. Andrews @ Sandhills and St. Andrews ONLINE.
On Aug. 29, 1958, the merger between Presbyterian Junior College and Flora Macdonald College became official with the formation of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C. Further information may be obtained by visiting the College's website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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