Heads will roll in VCU Theatre’s “Macbeth”

Austin Walker
Contributing Writer

Starting the 2014-15 season with a bang, VCU Theatre is presenting a modern interpretation of the Shakespearian classic, “Macbeth.”

The story revolves around one man’s quest for kingship, and is widely regarded as being one of Shakespeare’s most violent works. The play opened Sept. 25 and will run for two weekends.

The play tells the tale of Scottish general Macbeth, who becomes consumed with the notion of power after being told he will fulfill the local prophecy and succeed the current ruler, King Duncan. Lusting for power, Lady Macbeth, played by fourth-year performance major Rebecca Granger, pushes Macbeth to violence.

After a brutal murder of both the King and his guards, Macbeth claims his position as King of Scotland. With the crown comes his great orders of violence, and the play follows his bloody descent from the throne.

Macbeth on VCU’s stage is minimalistic, and the costumes are modernized and daunting. Nearly all the characters remain dressed in black leather throughout all of the show, and the real metal swords and shields clash loudly.

The production staff consists of nearly 75 people, a large team of students and staff that came together to create a stark portrayal of the classic story.

“Streamlining the script and emphasizing the thematic content was our goal,” said Barry Bell, the show’s director.

At the play’s premiere, the actors came to the stage wearing studded leather. As the audience watched Macbeth’s descent into madness, Shakespeare’s words came to life. The show’s designers spared no violence, and the action was vividly portrayed.

“We’ve been working on these fights for four or five weeks now,” said Aaron Mauck, senior performance major.

Played by Aaron Mauck, Macbeth will cut down anyone in his path. Photo by Christian Martinez.

Mauck played the title character, Macbeth. The Lord Macbeth is tempted with promises of power, and spills blood in his path to get it. Mauck said he had to try and relate to the crazed tyrant for his role.

“You try to find that little seed of ambition that’s in every person,” Mauck said.

The play leaves the audience with a message of humility and a better understanding of evil.

“In the end … (Macbeth) really is just a mortal like everyone else,” Bell said.

The immersion of the show was a result of a cast of 22 actors who came together to create a world inside the theatre. Mauck said he was excited to work with the entire ensemble. He credited the success of the show to all of the actors who worked alongside him.

“Everyone created this atmosphere that allowed me to create me,” Mauck said.

Macbeth runs Oct. 2-4 at 7:30 p.m. and closes Oct. 5 at 3 p.m. The show takes place at the W.E. Singleton Performing Arts Center at 922 Park Ave. Tickets are $25 for the general public, $20 for seniors, VCU faculty and staff and $10

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