The Scottish Play

Act 3, Scene 4

MACBETH: Blood hath been shed ere now, i’ the olden time, Ere human statute purged the gentle weal; Ay, and since too, murders have been perform’d Too terrible for the ear: the times have been, That, when the brains were out, the man would die, And there an end; but now they rise again, With twenty mortal murders on their crowns, And push us from our stools: this is more strange Than such a murder is.

Went to see an awesome production of Macbeth last night, in a very nice, very new theater in New Jersey . Co-directed by Aaron Posner and Teller (of “Penn and Teller” fame), the idea behind it was to render an already creepy play even creepier, partly by not shying away from the inherent bloodiness of the play, and partly by using Teller’s stage-magic skills to let the audience in on the hallucinations suffered by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

It worked remarkably well. Without a solid set of actors, it could have come off as a little gimmicky, but MacDuff and both of the clan Macbeth gave an excellent arc over the course of the show. The lighting was decent, and the stagecraft involved in the visual effects was nearly seamless. What effects there really seemed to be there to serve the story, not to yell out HEY LOOK IT’S A MAGIC TRICK. In a small house and a nearly unchanging set, I think the directors chose their technical flourishes well – they worked for me, at any rate.

If you have a chance to duck down to New Jersey in the next 3 weeks, I highly recommend it.