Actress/Adaptor Maya Danks has reduced Shakespeare’s classic Macbeth into a streamlined one hour without intermission. Developed in part by Rebirth Ink, the production of increased brevity makes its way to the small stage of Sunstone Studios for a single weekend’s performance at the end of October. Directed by Linetta Alexander Islam, the show graces the intimacy of the venue with a cast of four: Macbeth (Ken Miller), Lady Macbeth (Guinevere Casper), Banquo (King Hang) and Macduff (Brielle Richmond.)
Prophecy. Ambition. Death. It all plays out in a single hour without intermission. Everything glides across the stage quite gracefully. Danks has really cut the script to the quick. The production follows Danks' minimalism in a reasonably deft swiftness. There’s a powerful economy of visuals on a stage that isn’t much deeper or wider than the length of a broadsword. Four seats sit at four corners as the three witches settle-in for the play’s opening. The stage is bathed in black and gold with the occasional flashes of red light when blood is spilled.
With so much speeding by so quickly, there isn’t a whole lot of time for the mystical darkness to settle-in around the edges of the story. Between the lack of mysticism and a few other decisions that have been made in framing the script and staging the drama, this is a Macbeth that feels much more like psychological horror. The three weird sisters are as abstract as the dagger of the mind that haunts Macbeth. The plot elements tumble across the stage in a strange maelstrom the Danks and Islam have carefully concentrated. The characters are all clearly going through a dark madness, but how much of it all is in their minds? Couldn't they all stop it if they just discussed things like rational people? Without the mystic darkness, all of the darkness lies within. What is real? What lies in the mind? It's a darker edge when it's all within.
Sunstone Studios’ and Rebirth Ink’s production of Macbeth has three more performances: October 29th and 30th at 7pm and October 31st at 5 pm. For ticket reservations and more, visit Sunstone Studios online.