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"Macbeth"

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Macbeth, theater for a new audience's current bill, as staged by Ron Daniels, shows Scotland gripped by an epidemic of sleeping sickness. On a stage resembling a makeshift bullring (though the bull here is of another kind), thespians come and go like sleepwalkers, albeit able to talk in their sleep, and sometimes, like sleeping dogs, even bark in it. The fifteen mummers exhibit fifteen different ways of being equally terrible.

The three Weird Sisters, mistaking the meaning of weird, have let Constance Hoffman garb them in, respectively, a black mourning outfit, a red Haitian-voodoo costume, and a girlishly white nightgown. They act in accordance with their costumes. Next, a bloody battlefield, where the actors, acting or sitting on the sidelines, exhibit either awe or apathy. They might as well be in kirk, or watching a deadly performance by the TFANA.

Macbeth is portrayed by Bill Camp as a particularly lethargic Hamlet, full of ruminative whispers and Pinteresque pauses, able to put a five-second break between the words vaulting and ambition. Reg E. Cathey, purporting to be Banquo, manages to make mincemeat out of the part and comes back to do the same for the Porter. Unfortunately, I was no longer around for his third role. As Duncan, Graham Brown merely blows his voice like a rusty trombone.

Elizabeth Marvel, as Lady M., reads her husband's letter as if the handwriting were barely decipherable. Though she has some variety -- loud and soft -- she mostly slinks about barefoot, looking stupefied. The knocking at the gate is rendered by lightning and thunder to raise the dead. Unsuccessfully, like everything else.


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