Something wicked this way comes in Lamplight Theatre Co. production of ‘Macbeth’
Aug 22, 2019 12:32PM
● By Katherine Weinstein
The three witches (Emily Nash, Curtis Nash and Kiersten Honaker) brew up trouble for Macbeth in the Lamplight Theatre Co. production of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” (Photo courtesy The Wandering Photo Co/Bailey Loveless)
By Katherine Weinstein | [email protected]
“The play’s the thing,” William Shakespeare famously wrote. “It’s good to be with a group that believes that,” said Rebecca Lea McCarthy of her fellow actors in the upcoming Lamplight Theatre Co. production of “Macbeth” at Draper Historic Theatre. “It’s nice to work with people who have a passion for the process, it’s a joy.”
McCarthy is playing the treacherous Lady Macbeth in this production, which moves the story of Shakespeare’s bloodthirsty king from medieval Scotland to a lawless, post-apocalyptic world. “We’re drawing inspiration from ‘Mad Max’ and ‘The Walking Dead,’” explained actor and costumer Bailey Loveless. “Lamplight Theatre Co. wants to do classic plays, but reimagined so that they are more relatable to modern audiences.”
Lamplight Theatre Co. is a new theater company under the umbrella of Draper Historic Theatre that presents shows geared more to teen and adult audiences. The company put a new, modern spin on the Victorian classic “Charley’s Aunt” at Draper Historic Theater last spring. Lamplight Theatre Co. Executive Producer Eldon Randall is directing “Macbeth,” which will be presented Sept. 6–28.
For Randall, the decision to present “Macbeth” is a timely one. “I feel ‘Macbeth’ shows how one can lose their moral compass for personal and political gain. Something that I believe is happening in our society as a whole and in our government,” he said.
In Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth is at first a noble and loyal warrior who hears a witch’s prophecy that someday he will become king. Under pressure from his wife, Macbeth decides to take his destiny into his own hands and commits murder to seize the throne of Scotland. The body count increases as Macbeth and his wife give in to their insatiable desire for power until they themselves are destroyed.
The actors in this production of “Macbeth” expressed great enthusiasm for performing Shakespeare. Alex Glover, who plays the courtier Lennox, has studied Shakespeare as a theater student at BYU and appeared in “As You Like It” last July in Provo. “I love how complex this play is, story-wise,” said Glover. “There are so many subplots that influence the main story. It’s applicable to any time period — the conflict between wanting to have power and Macbeth feeling the need to follow his morals.”
Macy Rhees, who plays Malcolm, undertook the role of one of the witches in a production of “Macbeth” at BYU-Idaho. “I really love it,” she said. “One of the things I love about Shakespeare is that the stories can be set anywhere, the roles played by anyone. You can have fun with it.”
In the post-apocalyptic world of the Lamplight Theatre Co. version of “Macbeth,” women are warriors and can wield great power. “We have women playing masculine roles,” said Randall. “Society has changed in that women take on a more predominant role.”
“At the end, I become ‘king’ of Scotland,” added Rhees.
Performing Shakespeare requires training and experience. The two lead actors, Tim Jeffryes and Rebecca Lea McCarthy, bring both to their respective roles as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Jeffryes was part of an immersion program in acting at the Tisch School of the Arts and McCarthy studied at Cornish College of the Arts. Both acted professionally in New York before moving to Hawaii. They met while performing in a play together on Oahu and later married. “We found that we had so many things in common,” Jeffryes said. “We are best friends.”
Jeffryes and McCarthy have played husband and wife roles before on stage and also on film. Having recently relocated to Utah, “Macbeth” will be their first production in the state. “‘Macbeth’ is dark but also timeless,” McCarthy said. “Its overall themes are things that we deal with every day — jealousy, right versus wrong, the desire for power.”
Randall is also drawn to the play, which he directed once before at Mountain View High School in Orem. “I’m not a purist when it comes to Shakespeare, I’m an adventurist,” he said. “I like to do Shakespeare in different settings. First, it gives the actors something new to work with. Second, it gives the audience something new to look at.”
“We’ve made adjustments to the script and adapted and edited it to focus on the essentials of the story,” he said. The entire production runs for 90 minutes without an intermission. “If someone has never seen Shakespeare before, this would be a good introduction,” said Randall.
The Lamplight Theatre Co. production of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” will be presented at Draper Historic Theatre Sept. 6, 7, 9, 13, 14, 16, 20, 21, 23, 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee performance on Sept. 21. Draper Historic Theatre is located at 12366 South 900 East in Draper. For tickets, visit www.drapertheatre.org.