Sleep No More: “A Macbeth” Feature

The Sam Houston State University Department of Theatre’s rendition of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” left audiences shocked and amazed by the twists and turns that came from this production. The production—simply titled “A Macbeth,” was a condensed 90-minute show that encompassed the classical “Macbeth’s” tale with a new-age twist.

In the classic tale, young Lord Macbeth receives a prophecy from three witches that he is to be the next king. Lord Macbeth then plots to kill the current king and this, in turn, drives him and his wife to madness.

What differentiates Director Tom Prior’s rendition from other adaptations of “Macbeth” is that essentially the women in this story get the power. In “A Macbeth,” the witches and Lady Macbeth control the story. The witches are very present within this adaptation and they are the supernatural forces that direct the narrative.

“They are the controllers of people’s destinies, they are the overseers of mankind, so my vision for them was to have them woven into the play… so that they are always present,” Prior said.

The witches were not the only thing Prior had up his sleeve. Aside from the witches being more incorporated, Lady Macbeth gets her moment in sun with the taste of being in power.

In the end of act I, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth switch roles. Prior got the idea from a colleague who saw this type of adaptation in Japan and he thought it would be an interesting take on the story.

“Lady Macbeth gets what she asked for which is complete power over the kingdom,” Prior said.

When the crowning of Macbeth was to take place, the witches came in and placed their hands on Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, which caused a lightening strike to initiate a change. Lady Macbeth’s wig is removed and she assumes the same crowning position, and now she is essentially king.The motive for this change was to leave the audience wondering what’s happening.

In preparing for the show, the cast held three-hour daily rehearsals. Before the stage work began, Prior made sure they were fully aware of what Shakespeare’s work meant.

“We sat down for table work, went line by line [to figure out] what does each line mean,” Prior said. “’Do we know what we’re saying minute to minute, beat to beat?’”

“It was a collaborative effort from a group of really talented,intelligent artists. Under Tom, I felt free to be an artist,” actor Edwin Green said. “I felt no restrictions.”

Each showing of “A Macbeth” was performed in front of sold-out audiences.

“I wanted audience members to appreciate it,” Prior said. “I think the impact was that people got to see a really strong piece of theatre that happens to mirror what Macbeth is.”

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