Clayton Community Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth was a wonderful presentation of the original script of the famous Scottish Play, as it’s so known in the theatre community.  Disclaimer:  This is my first exposure to this play.  I have always known that Macbeth was one of the famous tragedies, and I guess I just never got around to reading it or watching it, until this past Thursday evening.  Would it be appropriate to say that I was quite charmed by the performance?  Or should my feelings be different because it was a tragedy?  I don’t know, but I was enthralled by the whole story and performance and I couldn’t get enough.  That’s the sad part of being sucked into a play.  I cannot comment too effectively on technical aspects because I was lost in that world.  It was a magical world.

I will say that I once heard that Shakespeare is meant to be seen, not read and it is so true.  When I watched the production, it all made sense.  It’s not the same as a high schooler trying to write a book report on a play, that’s so verbose and rich with language, it doesn’t register.  I guess, that’s why I haven’t ventured to read the plays.  I would rather watch and appreciate the story unfold.

As far as acting goes, I must say that Colin Nichols and Erin Struckhoff as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, give stellar performances.  I felt their characters very believable and as an audience member I was as much a part of their struggles as they were.  The three witches played by Mary Robert, Mary Klein and Denise Saylor, were lovably evil.  You could tell they were having too much fun portraying the horrible mystical beings.  I did like the appearance of Hecate (Gwynneth Rausch) with deer horns, as an ominous figure out in the distant up stage right.  It was very effective.  This play has a lot of great actors and the cast is large.  I would make notable mention of Ethan Jones as Macduff and Brad Kinzel as Banquo.  It’s truly hard to make mention of every person in this play.  Heather Sartin had one scene but was fabulous.  I was very moved.  In all of this, I must mention Brad Slavik and David Hawley.  They both seemed like they had a lot of running around to do and a million (I’m exaggerating) costume changes and character changes and I thought they handled them all very effectively.  If I didn’t mention each actor individually, I apologize.  You all did fabulous.  Great job all!

When there’s a great play, I know the credit goes to the director Nancy Crouse.  I had actually come in on one day to help out with moving stuff for the set up of this stage and I was very impressed with Nancy.  Her vision for the play comes through.  When you walk in and see the set, you realize how fabulous it is and all the entrances and exits as she wanted it, was very effective.  I know, looking at the play, the fast costume changes and moving locations, must not have been easy for the actors, but Nancy pulled it off.  She got her crew to perform her vision and a beautiful performance it was.

Music was fabulous.  Jermaine Manor has composed original work for this piece and it fits like a glove.  I didn’t realize until after the play, when I was told, that they were playing some of the music live.  Like I had said earlier, I was quite in a trance.  When everything fits, you don’t pay attention to the parts because it all comes together as a whole.

With all of this, I had a couple of concerns.  One was the opening scene.  I think they had a lighting problem.  They were sword fighting in the dark and I thought it extremely dangerous to the actors.  I thought that perhaps they were trying to create the ominous scene of night and lightning, but I was wrong.  It was a lighting hiccup.  The only other hiccup was one scene change before the banquet.  It took too long and I wondered if someone forgot their entrance or their lines and it took me a while to realize that it was a scene change and when I realized that, I thought to myself, “wow!  long scene change!”  Other than what I had mentioned Nathan Schroeder did a fabulous job as lighting designer.

Costumes were by Jean Heckman and Tracey A. Newcomb.  If nothing else, go watch the play for the costuming.  I was very impressed by the number of different costumes that were being paraded on stage.  Great job!

I know this was a very large production cast and performance cast, so I want to say that everything came together beautifully.  I would recommend this production of Macbeth by Clayton Community Theater.  Go watch it!  It continues from now through May 3rd.  Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm.


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