‘Macbeth’ makes way onto West Lib stage


By Francesca Miller, Staff Writer

Beginning on February 23, the Hilltop Players performed Shakespeare’s tragedy “Macbeth” or as it is called around the theater community, “The Scottish Play.”

“Macbeth” is the story of a well respected soldier who meets three witches in the woods.  The witches make a life changing prophecy for Macbeth, and he must decide if he has the nerve to make the prediction come true.

The play focuses on a man’s inner struggle with his conscience, and is a subject of much superstition around members of the theater. The name Macbeth is forbidden around rehearsal because it is said to bring actors terrible luck.

This superstition dates back to the 1600s and revolves around the iconic characters of the three witches.  It is said that Shakespeare used actual spells when writing the witch dialogue. It spooked the audiences in the 1600s and branded “Macbeth” with a superstitious element.  It is a theater tradition that the Hilltop Players are honoring during their rehearsals by only referring to the play as the “Scottish Play.”

Auditions for “Macbeth” took place before final exams at the end of last semester. Rehearsals began the first day of classes this semester.

Director John Hennen said, “It was a departmental decision to take on “Macbeth.”  Classics, like Shakespeare, are difficult to do, but the students should get a chance to be in a classical production. Shakespeare is a major part of theater and it gives the students a different perspective of a play.”

Performing a Shakespearean play does not come without its share of difficulties.  The most difficult part is the language and understanding what the characters actually mean when they speak. Hennen made a few minor script changes by replacing archaic Shakespearean phrases with more modern words to help the audience better understand. There is also the challenge of picking up the rhythm of the language.

Hennen said, “Shakespeare requires a different style of acting which is bigger and broader than a realistic play. The cast is working hard to pick up larger than life roles.  You do not do a major play like ‘Macbeth’ without the talent to do it.”

The cast consists of about fifteen people and is comprised mostly of theater majors.  Junior theater major Derek Park has the privilege of undertaking the challenging role of Macbeth.   Park described his experience in “The Scottish Play” as a whirlwind.

He said, “These last six weeks of rehearsals have flown by, and I cannot believe we are already getting ready to open the show. I have been blessed with several terrific parts while on the hilltop, but this is the role of a lifetime. I know that this will be an experience that I will always cherish, as it doesn’t come around very often.”

Hennen predicts that the audience will enjoy a number of things about West Liberty’s rendition of “Macbeth.” One thing the audience will find exciting are the combat fighting scenes which take place in the opening scene and in the final battle between Macbeth and Macduff.  Shaun Rolly, a certified stage combat choreographer from Pittsburgh, Pa. choreographed all of the combat sequences in the play.

The sword fighters are under the direction of freshman Meaghan Macy who is the designated fight captain.  Macy leads the other sword fighters in practicing their combat sequences.  They must be extremely careful, since they are using real swords.

“The audience will also enjoy the famous soliloquies that everybody knows. Also they will appreciate characters like the three witches. Hopefully, the audience will remember the tortures of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth,” Hennen said.

The cast list includes Derek Park as Macbeth, Frank McKay as Duncan, Jake Sabinsky as Malcolm, Alan Olson as Donalbain, Jake Trifonoff as Banquo and David Zanieski as MacDuff. Renee Zelinski will play Lady Macbeth, Karissa Martin will play Lady MacDuff, David Dudzik will be Fleance and Son and Jen Saling will play gentlewoman. Clayton Dunn will take the roles of first witch and Ross, Nathan Dunn as second witch and Lennox and Meaghan Macey will be the third witch, porter and Seyton

Macbeth opened on February 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Kelly Theater. Show times ran Feb. 23, 24 and March 1, 2, 3 at 7:30 p.m. and March 4 at 3 p.m.

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