When the hurly burly's done

Unity Theatre production of Shakespeare’s tragedy directed by Norman Maclean.

Unity Theatre production of Shakespeare’s tragedy directed by Norman Maclean.

ALL HAIL, MACBETH: In these rehearsal pictures, Scottish warrior Macbeth (Joe Martin, right) and his friend, fellow general Banquo (Martin Gibson), stagger off the battlefield only to encounter the “weird sisters” on a foggy heath. The three women, who “look not like the inhabitants o’ the earth”, sow the seeds of terrible ambition in Macbeth’s mind. Pictures by Elenor Gill
Banquo is curious about his own destiny as foretold by the weird sisters played by Julia Duffy (centre), Elizabeth Boyce and (out of picture) Niki Ovenden.

AFTER exiting the blood and shouting of battle, Scottish general Macbeth (played by Joe Martin) and his friend Banquo (Martin Gibson) encounter three weird sisters on a smoky heath. The women sow the seeds of over-reaching ambition in Macbeth’s mind.

Macbeth is doomed by their prophecies, although at any point before he commits the ultimate crime, descends into despair, paranoia and more bloodshed, there is a sense he could pull up.

“It’s the direct unfolding of consequences in Macbeth that is so riveting,” says director of the Unity Theatre production of Shakespeare’s popular tragedy, Norman Maclean.

“There is a certain inevitability in how those consequences unfold, but there is a lot of tension.”

Shakespeare plumbs the depths of the soul in this play, and touches on the darker aspects of the human psyche.

“The cast is picking up on that too. They’ve seen the whole thing several times but it’s still gripping them.

“It’s an enormously satisfying play to do.”

Which is why it comes as a surprise to find Unity Theatre’s production of Macbeth will be the first time the company has staged one of Shakespeare’s tragedies.

What’s more, the blood and thunder production, in which all nature is thrown into upheaval by Scottish warrior Macbeth when he murders his king, will be staged in the traditional way: On an unadorned stage with few props.

“I’ve done minimalistic shows before but not to this degree,” says Maclean.

“The action will occur in a defined arena space on the theatre floor. I think the closeness between the audience and the stage will be a big appeal.”

Lighting and sound effects will create atmosphere and indicate changes of setting and mood.

“They will ‘paint’ the scenery. The savagery and sinister element in the drama will not be modified in any way at all. Shakespeare touches on the darker aspects of the human psyche and it is partly this that gives Macbeth such strong appeal.”

AFTER exiting the blood and shouting of battle, Scottish general Macbeth (played by Joe Martin) and his friend Banquo (Martin Gibson) encounter three weird sisters on a smoky heath. The women sow the seeds of over-reaching ambition in Macbeth’s mind.

Macbeth is doomed by their prophecies, although at any point before he commits the ultimate crime, descends into despair, paranoia and more bloodshed, there is a sense he could pull up.

“It’s the direct unfolding of consequences in Macbeth that is so riveting,” says director of the Unity Theatre production of Shakespeare’s popular tragedy, Norman Maclean.

“There is a certain inevitability in how those consequences unfold, but there is a lot of tension.”

Shakespeare plumbs the depths of the soul in this play, and touches on the darker aspects of the human psyche.

“The cast is picking up on that too. They’ve seen the whole thing several times but it’s still gripping them.

“It’s an enormously satisfying play to do.”

Which is why it comes as a surprise to find Unity Theatre’s production of Macbeth will be the first time the company has staged one of Shakespeare’s tragedies.

What’s more, the blood and thunder production, in which all nature is thrown into upheaval by Scottish warrior Macbeth when he murders his king, will be staged in the traditional way: On an unadorned stage with few props.

“I’ve done minimalistic shows before but not to this degree,” says Maclean.

“The action will occur in a defined arena space on the theatre floor. I think the closeness between the audience and the stage will be a big appeal.”

Lighting and sound effects will create atmosphere and indicate changes of setting and mood.

“They will ‘paint’ the scenery. The savagery and sinister element in the drama will not be modified in any way at all. Shakespeare touches on the darker aspects of the human psyche and it is partly this that gives Macbeth such strong appeal.”

Macbeth, Unity Theatre, Ormond Road, August 18-25

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