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the Parking Lot
The performance got off to a delightful start with young Joe Clancy greeting the audience reminding them to turn off their cell phones, etc. He's a young man, around 13 years old, I would guess, who is totally comfortable on stage in both his roles in the play and delivering the welcoming announcement--he's a natural! The free performance did indeed take place in a parking lot before a very large, enthusiastic, and appreciative audience.
The play's the thing, however, and this Macbeth was performed by a large, hardworking, likeable, but very uneven cast. The setting of this Macbeth was changed to a banana republic and directed by Jesse Ontiveros, of Mexican heritage. This was especially fitting in light of the Company's new partnership with the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Education Center, a long established downtown organization that places an emphasis on Latin culture. Costumes were functional and consistent, with tee shirts and pants, military or camouflage outfits for the men, simple dresses for the women, imaginative black costumes for the witches. Flamenco music played softly in the banquet scene in which Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo (Lady Macbeth's unceremonious dismissal of her guests in this scene was beautifully done.) The theme of Macbeth remains the same, of course out of control ambition and the desire for power at any cost, with the subsequent guilt, remorse, and death. The language also remains the same, and is a detraction from the play when not delivered as though it is the speaker's natural, normal form of expression.
The three witches, played by Gracie Winchester, Llewie Nunez, and Leila Okafor, relished their roles and were quite effective, as was Kineta Kunutu as both a servant and Hecate. Lady Macbeth was portrayed by Sheri Graubert, who had done much work in both the U.S. and England. She speaks with an English accent, is obviously experienced and comfortable performing Shakespeare.
Her Lady Macbeth was all passion and emotion, and even her plotting and coldness seemed to be arrived at by instinct rather than pragmatism planning. Dan Teachout as Macbeth did a fine job in conveying his emotional torture and repentance, though I wished that he could have mastered the language more completely. Lucas Calzada turned in a beautiful performance as Malcolm with fine projection, delivery of his lines, and an elegant and natural stage presence. Also commendable were the fight sequences, two short but effectively choreographed and executed segments.
The audience was with the performers all the way, cheering at the end of the two hour, no intermission, presentation. Best of luck to the company in their new home. [Berse]
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