The sun begins to set on the forest surrounding the Hill Theatre.
Through the opening in the back wall, we see smoke beginning to rise through the trees some distance away. A small plume at first, slowly creeping towards the stage. It grows larger and larger until it envelops the entire back entry way.
The three witches make their way to the stage as if being called there by a force.
Suddenly, with drums pounding, an army rushes through the fog and clamors onto the stage.
A beat passes as they stare mercilessly into the crowd. With an almighty cry and beating armor, they rush into the crowd as if rushing into battle. This is the start of Shakespeare’s Scottish play, MACBETH, as imagined by American Players Theatre.
Passionate Descents into Madness
In this writer’s view, each member of the large ensemble approaches their role with ferocity. Cristina Panfilio who plays Malcolm, daughter of the murdered King Duncan, delivers an especially impassioned speech calling for Macduff’s aid in the fight to reclaim Scotland.
We feel Macduff’s pain as Gavin Lawrence suffers in agony over his lost family. Even the other Macduff family members show their teeth as Lady Macduff played by Alys Dickerson fights for her life against murderers after her family.
It is Macbeth and Lady Macbeth played by Marcus Truschinski and Melisa Pereyra, respectively, that we most feel for as we watch them slowly descend into madness. We see their passion right from the start and we see how their strong emotions start to turn against them. When Pereyra as Lady Macbeth descends down from her bedroom in her sleepwalking scene, we hold our breath as she shakes and breaks down before us. And with Truschinski’s Macbeth, we see this murderous king’s unraveling faster and faster as he moves towards his untimely end. These actors leave us stunned at their raw emotional performances.
American Players Theatre Amplifies Scottish Roots and Inspiration
The aesthetic of American Players MACBETH feels like a dream state of Braveheart. The costumes draw inspiration from traditional Scottish garb with leg wraps and kilt-like bottoms. However, there are no clan plaid kilts here, only earthy tones to subtly reflect status.
Snippets of bagpipes also come through every now and then adding to the Scottish atmosphere. We feel like we’re in the throes of battle with war paint boldly painted on the soldiers’ faces.
MACBETH feels gritty--from the rawness of the acting, to the dirt and sweat that bead the actors faces. This writer thinks that most fans of classic Shakespearian work will similarly be thrilled by American Players’ take on this Scottish play, and especially by how it keeps MACBETH firmly in its Scottish roots.
Tracy Michelle Arnold
Carolyn Ann Hoerdemann
Kenneth La’Ron Hamilton II
Erin Nicole Eggers
Daniel Tyler Mathews
Michael A. Peterson
Jessica Bess Lanius
Now through October 4, 2019
American Players Theater
5950 Golf Course Rd.
Spring Green, WI 53588
Full price tickets can be purchased online through the American Players Theater website or by calling the box office at 608-588-2361.
Photos: Liz Lauren
About the Author
Alexis is a theater reviewer, travel bug, media specialist, and burger & beer enthusiast. During the day she works in the advertising business as a media supervisor. When night falls, or when she can escape to New York, she’s hitting the theaters to see as many shows as she can. And whenever she’s not at her desk or in the audience, she’s out seeking the best burger and beer offerings in Chicago.
Editor's Note: Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Alexis Bugajski