Friday, March 16, 2007

Chamber Macbeth

Seattle Shakespeare Company
@ The Center House Theatre
March 16 - April 8, 2007
For Tickets: Call (206) 733-8222 or online at Seattle Shakespeare

Amid the clashes of swords, the light insinuated apparitions and the minimalist arena stage, Chamber Macbeth erupts forth in a flurry of raw human emotion encompassed by dynamic blocking and choreography that enthralls the audience from many different angles. The simplistic set, designed by Jennifer Lupton, was used to transport viewers to many different worlds. Through crafty and slight changes, a witch’s lair becomes a castle nursery room, which then moves to a forest in England. The set works intimately as a slate to enhance the creative lighting design that in turn becomes the set itself.

The lighting design (Tim Wratten) works to encapsulate the audience in a small room, filled with dim gloomy light and the insane nocturnal laments of Lady Macbeth, as well as push the audience into the middle of a forest where light surrounds each of the captivated theatre goers who each take on various roles throughout the play. From soldiers in Macduff’s army to drink toasters in Macbeth’s dining hall (in which reviewer Rick Skyler was given a goblet of a unique, delicate drink) the characters multiplied their numbers. This dynamic relationship between the set, lights, and audience, led to an eye hungry world of guilt, brutality, murder and revenge.

Photo taken by Erik Stuhaug

In continuity with the theme of brutal and primal elements, a portion of the show consists of rituals such as dancing and fighting. Although these parts do not make up the majority of the show, they certainly are among the most memorable. The fighting in particular is most impressive. Choreographed by Gordon Carpenter, the fights last for an extended period of time and yet were not uninteresting to the audience because of the extreme realism in which the characters did not simply do the same action time and time again, but rather, varied their technique depending on the ground they stood and their own strengths and weaknesses at the time. The desire of the character to win the fight for either revenge or for survival is extremely apparent and shown well by the actors. These raw human drives, enhanced by the various design elements, truly made the audience feel the passion of the characters primordial desires that are so intrinsically woven into the show, despite some weak acting portrayal, which led to some unfortunate confusion.

Chamber Macbeth is a dynamic, passionate show that keeps the audience well enthralled, not only through the performance onstage, but also through the dynamic backstage work that is so apparently beneficial onstage. Be sure to see Chamber Macbeth, you will leave gasping for words.

Reviewers: Jack Jarden and Rick Skyler

No comments: