by Grace Lisandrelli
M: An Adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth with Three Actors was simple, yet effective. Macbeth tells the story of the valiant Scottish title soldier who encounters three ghoulish women with incredible prophetic abilities. These women share their predictions with Macbeth, the most astounding of which involves Macbeth becoming King of Scotland. When Macbeth writes to his beloved wife about the prophecy, she devises a malevolent plan to murder the reigning King Duncan and presses her husband until he finally concedes to do the deed. The play follows Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s psychological breakdowns as they spiral further out of control to ensure that he remains King.
This particular edited version of Macbeth, clocking in at one hour and 15 minutes, has only three actors, which stems from the concept of the three ghoulish women. I applaud these three actors first and foremost for taking on the daunting task of playing multiple characters, especially since Macbeth has an unusual number of minor characters.
One very outstanding characteristic of the set was the omnipresence of standing puppets to represent the women. They were appealing to the eye as well a clever device to help the audience distinguish the women from the other characters. Another subtle yet notable feature of the play concerned the murder scenes. When a character was slain, the murderer would pull a long piece of red ribbon from the “wound” to symbolize blood. I thought it was an artful, almost poetic touch to such an intense storyline. The sound effects and lighting, simulating nature, gave the play a very earthy vibe, adding to the raw energy surrounding the production.
If you are a fan of Shakespeare, I wholeheartedly recommend this adaptation of Macbeth. I would even call it a “portable play” – a production that could easily travel to different locations, particularly high schools. I would envision this play being well received by other high school students.