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Macbeth, With Strings Attached

Marionette Shakespeare at the New Vic.


On first viewing, Shakespeare can be tough for grown-ups to digest, and the gore of Macbeth doesn’t automatically suggest family theater. But Criss Henderson of Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Piero Corbella of Italy’s Colla Marionette Company thought otherwise, and their marionette Macbeth opens at the New Victory on Friday, after a successful run in the Second City. Corbella and his team of sixteen marionette makers spent two years building some 150 basswood-and-glass puppets and their remarkably detailed backdrops, and the result is profoundly different from typical Punch and Judy puppeteering. “Prior to this, my only experience was Lonely Goatherd and Pinocchio,” says Henderson. “But watching hundreds of marionettes come to life was eye-opening. Americans don’t have a sense of marionettes—there’s a sense of spectacle and pageantry that puppets bring to the stage that our flesh and blood could never duplicate.” No matter how much blood we’re talking about.

4/20–4/29; New Victory Theater, 209 W. 42nd St., nr. Broadway (212-239-6200 or; $12.50–$35.


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