Fans of Shakespeare’s tragedy “Macbeth,” get ready to see the famous play adapted on the All An Act Theatre’s stage, located in Columbus Square, at 652 W. 17th St.“Macbeth,” roughly a 90-minute show, runs this weekend and continues into the weekend of Sept. 20.
Friday and Saturday showings start at 7:30 p.m. Sunday showings begin at 3 p.m. The cost for a student or senior is $7 and an adult ticket is $10.
“Macbeth” is a 14-person cast, with several Gannon affiliates, including five current students, one recent graduate and one alumnus.
Nicholas R. Kikola, production director of the show, said the play follows the standard plot.
Macbeth, a Scottish general, successfully wins a battle and thus achieves a promotion and a new title. Three witches later appear and inform him that he will be king in the near future. So with the help of his wife, Macbeth plots to kill the current king. When the three witches reappear and tell Macbeth of another obstacle, he embarks on a path of murder to protect his crown.
Kikola said that what makes this version special is the emphasis on temptations. The spin that Kikola and Nicholas A. Emmanuele, assistant director and script adaptor, put on “Macbeth” explores the nature of temptation along with the nature of desire, as well as power struggles within gender roles.
Kikola and Emmanuele, who have collaborated four times previously, including twice for Gannon University’s Shakespeare Summer Nights, collectively decided to make the three witches young and attractive women instead of old, haggard and ugly.
The directors reworked the witches into more scenes to make them more prominent than in the original work. Kikola and Emmanuele also cut some minor characters’ roles and instead assigned their dialogue to other remaining characters.
However, that’s about all the differences one will find when comparing it to Shakespeare’s written work.
Kikola said every word spoken is from the original text and all the famous monologues have been left untouched. The reason is because it is Kikola’s goal to make Shakespeare closer to the everyday person.
“We try to make it more digestible and accessible to modern audiences with a more contemporary style to the classic literature,” Kikola said. “We want to spark an interest in Shakespeare so people will be more willing to take a look at it in the future.”
Kikola said that he wants audiences to remember the versions he directs and hopefully, in the future, they will be more likely to expose themselves to the unabridged text.
Another goal of the play is to provoke dialogue and raise questions, Kikola said. Many people wonder why Macbeth acts the way he does and there are several theories in response to that question.
One is that as soon as he heard of his future, Macbeth willingly did whatever he had to rush his fate. While another is that the influence of Lady Macbeth convinced Macbeth to proceed with murder.
This sparks discussions about the nature of desire and gender roles.
In making the witches more prominent and the influence of Lady Macbeth, many will wonder about power struggles between genders.
Conor Grey, a senior pre-medical and biology major, who is playing the role of Macduff, said he wants the audience to realize the timelessness of “Macbeth” as well as all of Shakespeare’s works.
“I hope that the audience understands that this story is applicable no matter the language,” Grey said. “I hope they realize that Shakespeare isn’t something removed in time, it’s raw and real, teeming with revenge, hatred, love and every human emotion possible.”