Something wicked this way comes

Kayla Palliser

Deception, murder and a few witty witches are coming soon to the main stage! “Macbeth” will run Nov. 11-14, and tickets are free to students, faculty, and staff with an ID. Additionally, this is the first show approved to perform without masks. Audience members will either have to present a negative COVID-19 test or their vaccine card at the door.

Even though the blood and betrayals, “Macbeth” at its heart is about the marriage between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. There is much more going on beneath the surface of their relationship. There is a line early in the play where Macbeth calls Lady Macbeth “my dearest partner of greatness” in a letter. This kind of language within a 16th-century marriage is unprecedented, and one of the reasons the cast agrees that the destruction of their marriage is the true tragedy in the play.

Another detail within the play indicates a struggle the couple is enduring that remains unaddressed. Associate Professor and Chair of Theater Arts Dr. Jennifer Popple, who directs Macbeth, has decided to approach their relationship with the insight from one crucial line: According to Popple, “Lady Macbeth indicates that they’ve had a child [but] we never see a child. So everyone assumes that the child has died. For me, that is the answer to everything about Lady Macbeth… Now, what does she have? She has her husband.”

The grieving process of the Macbeths is a key influence on their actions because each of them is trying to find their way through the pain of grief. While they are struggling, reminders of their loss continue to fill the stage.

“There are so many children in the play. There’s Banquo’s son [and] we have Lady Macduff’s children. The presence or absence of children is all over this play,” Popple said.

Lady Macbeth’s internal struggle is especially evident as the play progresses. “The thing that is meant to heal her ends up causing her pain to be that much worse. [It’s] one of the most interesting character arcs I’ve ever gotten to play” senior Noel Jean Huntley, who plays Lady Macbeth, said.

As Lady Macbeth loses her grip on reality, Huntley believes she is desperately trying to keep going. “After the murder is committed, she adopts this idea of ‘what’s done is done’. I think my favorite line would be ‘Things without remedy should be without regard,’ because it is both completely true and her way of rationalizing,” Huntley said.

According to senior Keenan Ellis, who plays Macbeth, Macbeth’s mentality in grief is completely different from Lady Macbeth’s. “Macbeth is a character who doesn’t really think; he acts on impulse and he does immediately what he thinks is right,” Ellis said. And unfortunately, “As Macbeth gets more and more power, the relationship starts to dissolve.”

Other relationships are created visually through color-coordinated costumes. The Macbeths will be in red, Banquo’s family will be in green and royalty will be identified with navy blue. So, when the Macbeths take the throne, “they will add navy pieces to their red costumes to signify that they are now the royal family,” said Emily Bushá, costume shop manager.

For actors who play multiple roles, changing characters is far more complicated than simply changing costumes. Junior Lauren Clarke plays a witch, a murderer and a soldier.

To distinguish between each character, “you need to completely change your body language and the way that you speak as well,” Clarke said. The witches have the most movement of the show, which gives Clarke a chance to show off some of her skills, as she is also involved in Dance Company.

The presence of the three witches is emphasized in this adaptation. According to Popple, “the witches are not in that many scenes in the script, but through the movement work that Shelley has been doing, the witches actually have a through-line and are present for a lot more scenes and are responsible for a lot more things.”

However, the presence of the witches also calls into question the idea of responsibility. “Even though the witches are there, and they’ve done a lot to push and turn, ultimately Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are totally responsible for the actions they take. And they both know it, at the end,” said Popple. “Part of Macbeth’s struggle in the play is often about being honest about what he really wants, versus making excuses for what he does.”