by Melissa Gordon
pLAywriting in the city
Emotion. Action. Intensity. All of this and more can be found in the seats of the The Antaeus Company theatre in North Hollywood, where a full production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth is enchanting theatre enthusiasts. Directed by Jessica Kubzansky and cast using multiple sets of actors, this popular Shakespeare tragedy about the brutality of greed and the terrors of insanity is leaving audiences floored.
We’ve all either seen, read, or heard about the infamous tale of Macbeth. Brutal but unafraid, this play has long been a favorite of Shakespeare’s tragedies due to its insightful storyline about treachery and corrupted ambition. Jessica Kubzansky seeks to push the tale one step further by emphasizing elements of forsaken fellowship, war, and the evil that can resonate from those who have nothing to lose. Kubzansky’s direction assumes a humanistic perspective, portraying Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as two parents that have lost a newborn in the production’s prologue. Even the three witches are more realistic, portrayed as three eccentric old women that practice witchcraft in secret. Despite the horrors committed on stage, all of the characters are represented as explicitly human; in this adaptation, there is no true villain. Kubzansky’s rendition appears as more of a history than a cliché tragedy, which makes this storyline more meaningful and relatable than ever before.
With multiple ensemble casts (cleverly titled the Kinsmen, Thanes, and Hurlyburlys), Macbeth is a puzzle with the perfect set of pieces. The plays at the The Antaeus Company are performed by seasoned actors with extensive resumes in the field, and the sets and costumes are gorgeously depicted with rich detail. In the presentation that includes the Kinsmen ensemble, Bo Foxworth inspires with his concentrated portrayal of the tortured Macbeth, which ignites shock and empathy. With quivering lips and watery eyes, his descent enthralls from beginning to end. Ann Noble is inclined to send a shiver down your spine with her unique portrayal of Lady Macbeth, which channels a sense of femininity that is oftentimes neglected in other adaptations. These two steal the show with their incredible on-stage chemistry, but performers such as Fran Bennett (Witch One), Peter Van Norden (Duncan/Seyton), James Sutorius (Macduff), and Brian Tichnell (Malcolm) command notable attention. The entire cast works to make Shakespeare’s play come to life in a way that is absolutely unforgettable.
This rendition of Macbeth will delight Shakespeare enthusiasts while still sticking to Shakespeare’s original intent—to entertain audiences of any genre. Whether you have or haven’t yet seen the tale of Macbeth, you have never seen it quite like this. The Antaeus theatre displays an incredible sense of dedication to the craft of theatre—an effort that clearly results in an amazing show. Don’t miss this amazing adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Macbeth by William Shakespeare is at The Antaeus Company from July 12 to Aug. 25. The address is 5112 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91601 (one block north of Magnolia; free parking available in Citibank lot on Lankershim Blvd). Call (818) 506-1983 or visit www.antaeus.org for tickets.