MACBETH a bloody good show at OSF

Lady Macbeth (Robin Goodrin Nordli) seeks to strengthen her "worthy thane" Macbeth (Peter Macon), as his resolve falters given his bloody deed. Photo by Jenny Graham.

OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL (OSF); P.O. Box 158, 15 South Pioneer Street, Ashland, OR 97520. 541-482-2111, 541-482-0446 fax, 541-482-4331 box office;

Macbeth by William Shakespeare February 13-November 1

Director: Gale Edwards; Scenic Designer: Scott Bradley; Costume Designer: Murell Horton; Lighting Designer: Mark McCullough; Music/Sound: Todd Barton.

Wow! What a performance! I wonder how a Shakespearean audience would respond after seeing OSF’s staging of his tragedy Macbeth? At the end of the play, an audience of mostly young people gave it a thunderous standing ovation, shortly after Macduff, carrying Macbeth’s head, greets Malcolm with “Hail, King of Scotland.” It is the bloodiest and most powerful version I have ever seen as strife and death unfolds on scenic designer Scott Bradley’s set that Salvatore Dali would envy. Under Gale Edwards’ riveting direction, Peter Macon (Macbeth) and Jeany Park (Lady Macbeth) show their great acting ability as they descend from complete assurance as cold-blooded killers to frightening madness. My favorites are the weird sisters.

In the Act I, scene I the first stage direction: Thunder and lighting. Enter three witches. Costume designer Murrell Horton, lighting designer Mark McCullough and composer/sound designer Todd Barton have conspired to create the Three Witches (Perri Gaffney, Robyn Rodriguez and K.T. Vogt) of frightening design as they mix a boiling brew necessary to make their prophesies. It is not until scene iii that Macbeth appears receiving the welcomed prophecy All hail Macbeth, that shall be King hereafter.

Later in Act IV, when he plans to murder Macduff he visits the weird sisters who advise that no man “of woman born shall harm Macbeth” and sets aside his murderous plan not knowing that Macduff was born by Caesarian section. He is further seduced into complacency hearing that he shall never be vanquished until Birnam Wood moves to high Dunsinane Hill. You know the rest of the story.

There is not a weak member of the cast making it difficult to single out any particular actor. Their interaction resembles an ensemble performance even though specific characters within the play are crucial to the outcome. Kevin Kenerly is a forceful MacDuff, Jeremy Peter Johnson does justice to the role of Malcolm and Rex Young as the ghostly Banquo is expressive without words. Finally, fight director U. Jonathan Toppo creates violent realistic fight scenes. Macbeth is Shakespeare's shortest running 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Kedar K. Adour, MD
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