The word Macbeth originally became unlucky in theatres as it was such a guaranteed hit at its time, that if the current production was running badly, the theatre would simply resort to Macbeth the following week to draw the crowds back in leaving actors and directors without jobs. So what happens if Macbeth is a disaster?! I am loathed to be too critical of this production; after all, this is an American High School production and almost everyone involved was doing it for fun, but at the same time there were parts of this hour and a half that Id crave to have returned to me.
The director makes note in the program that he had set the play in contemporary surroundings. When the houselights dimmed therefore, I was thoroughly looking forward to seeing what ideas he had come up with knives, hoodies, perhaps even set as if in the style of the race for the American presidency! Who knows, there are endless possibilities. I was unfortunately left very disappointed left wondering whether this comment was a typo apart from the very non-descript costumes and a rather tame torch, there was very little at all to suggest that the premise of modernisation had existed the directors mind. Indeed, the decision to replace swords with daggers seemed to be associated more with convenience than thoughtful reclassification.
However, undoubtedly the most frustrating point about this production was the inexplicable atmospheric music which was played, as if a soundtrack, throughout the play and turned gritty Macbeth monologues and emotional scenes into nigh on farcical derision. It sounded like the MD had also taken a few too many ideas from a piece of composition in Meet Joe Black at one stage as well!
I would be doing a disservice to the La Salle players though if I claimed that on the line You lack the season of all natures sleep, Id duly obliged and nodded off! On the whole, the young performers grasped the difficult skill of speaking verse, and Valentine Szlashta is an inspired Lady Macbeth, bringing the cold, unflinching, steely determination of her character to the fore, whilst Kathryn Ryan (Hecate) clearly has potential. There were also some brilliantly choreographed fight sequences.
Unfortunately though, by 11.45pm Id had enough of three witches calumphing on stage like hippopotamuses, infuriating whispers of disrespecting students behind me, dreadful lighting the gaffer tape on stage was lit better than the actors faces, and melodramatic deaths where screams of Im dying wouldnt have felt out of place. Somebody call Macbeth.