Ivy Tech students face irreparable blood stains in ‘Macbeth’

Theater Review: ‘MacBeth’
Ivy Tech students face irreparable blood stains in ‘Macbeth’ 

The Herald-Times
Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 12:11 am, Tue Apr 15, 2014.

By Doris Lynch H-T Reviewer

Under Jeffery Allen’s precise and artful direction, Ivy Tech Community College students presented a rousing, well-acted and absorbing production of “Macbeth” Saturday night at the Waldron. Allen’s direction emphasized timing and flow, and the entire cast moved through the scenes at a pace that, although quick, was easy to follow. Most of the cast did an excellent job with the diction and delivery of the bard’s words.

The costumes by Lily Walls — modern Army camouflage — and the cast speaking in unison at times gave a military cadence to the evening that hinted at the violence to come.

David Wade’s set design, a boarded house backdrop with stained boards, gave the feeling of rustic Scotland and utilized the small space well. Particularly innovative was how the door came off quickly to be used as a table for the feast where Macbeth ducks and dives to dodge the ghost of one of the men he had murdered. Platforms rising into the seating area enabled the actors to make eye contact and even pose a few questions to the audience.

Instead of bending over a bubbly, burning caldron, the three witches — all devilish and threatening — (Rhianna Jones, Katherine Nash and Chelsea Jean Sherman) entered, one bearing a young child over her shoulder. Later, they chalked a circle around the Child Witch (Marcella Weltsek-Medina) and chanted spells over her, infusing their future-telling with an ominous air.

When Macbeth (Stephen Walton) appeared, each of the women witches provoked him with an aggressive kiss. At first, Walton’s Macbeth seemed jovial, a congenial member of the company, happy to be a general and kinsman of King Duncan’s (Gus Weltsek).

But then Lady Macbeth entered. Danielle Carter was fabulous in this role, regal, demanding, a woman who knows exactly what she wants — the power of the crown. Obviously the brains and the motivating force behind the killing of the king, she belittled Macbeth when he wavered about doing the dastardly deed, questioning his manhood.

Under cover of a sound-pierced darkness — most of the play’s violence occurs at night — Lady M. spurs her husband to murder Duncan. Immediately afterwards, Macbeth rushes out and depicts the stark horror of a man who has just realized he has killed another. But Lady Macbeth, practical as always, nags him about not finishing the job — he’s brought the knives out instead of leaving them in the chamber so that the servants would be blamed.

After the regicide, Walton’s Macbeth shows layers of complexity: at times cocky, at times vulnerable, at times, terrified by what he has done, and even more so, by what he must still do to disprove the witches’ predictions.

One of the interesting things about this production is that women play many of the traditionally male roles and do them very well. Particularly strong is Emily Scott in the role of Macduff. She delivers lines of anger, sadness and strategy with great authority and passion. Even when silent, she stood ready in a wide-legged warrior stance.

Franki Levenson-Campanale ‘s Malcolm (one of Duncan’s sons) immediately recognized the danger of being the heir and her scene debating with Macduff was dramatic and eloquent.

Both Lady Macbeth’s futile hand-washing scene and Macbeth’s “Out, out brief candle” soliloquy were captivating.

And what would a Shakespearean tragedy be without some artful swordplay? It was thrilling to watch these royals fight to the bitter end right before us. For as Shakespeare wrote, “Blood will have blood.”

The young Ivy Tech cast presented Shakespeare in his complexity with an ease and understanding that made it seem contemporary, happening now. Don’t miss this drama of ghosts haunting dinner parties, witches foretelling portentous events and bloodstains that all the rivers of Scotland cannot wash away.

If you go

WHO: Ivy Tech Student Productions.

WHAT: “Macbeth,” by William Shakespeare.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.

WHERE: Rose Firebay, Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center.

TICKETS: $15, $5 students and seniors. At the BCT Box Office at 114 E. Kirkwood Ave., the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center before each performance, or call 812-323-3020. Online at www.bctboxoffice.com.

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