All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.
“Double, double, toil and trouble,” jealousy burns and murder bubbles. As the blood of murder stains and bubbles in the minds of a young king and his wife, we wonder which is worse: the crime or the guilt associated with it. Deceit and violence run rampant as the lust for power, wealth, and conquest takes root in Northwood High School’s production of the classic gruesome tale, Macbeth.
Macbeth still remains one of William Shakespeare’s most popular tragedies, its first performance occurring circa 1611. Since then, the time-honored play, like many other Shakespearean works, has enjoyed countless adaptations in art, film, theatre, and television, including the current run of Punchdrunk’s site-specific rendition in New York City, Sleep No More. The bard’s tale takes place in Scotland, where General Macbeth receives an eerie prophecy from three witches stating that he will one day become king. Obsessively power-hungry, Macbeth and his equally ruthless wife, Lady Macbeth, vow to murder the current king of Scotland. However, the two soon spiral into psychological and political hysteria as they attempt to hide their heinous crime with even more violent and inhumane results.
Portraying the title character, Michael Katz displayed the Scottish king’s intriguing descent into madness with a notable Shakespearean accent as his booming voice bellowed throughout the theater. Katz’s abrupt changes in emotion and intensity, as well his gravelly speech and nimble tumbling skills during stage combat brawls, added authenticity to the sense of mental deterioration. Opposite him, Emma-Lea Jacklin played Lady Macbeth, one of Shakespeare’s most powerful female roles of all time. Jacklin displayed a fine range of cunning interactions with other characters, whether she was enticing a future murder victim or taunting Macbeth for his lack of manliness.
One of the most memorable highlights of the show, the trio of three witches (Mica Lewis, Brianna Lattanzio, and Naomi Eskenazi) and their surrounding slew of blood-thirsty minions created several ghoulish scenes filled with high-pitched cackles, creepy contortions, and synchronized, ominous chants. The wickedly talented group captured attention every time they came on stage, highlighting their sense of otherworldliness by bringing something new to each scene with different blocking levels and warped movements. Also notable was Nick Lingenfelter as Macduff, a Scottish nobleman suspicious of Macbeth’s hasty ascent to the throne. Lingenfelter successfully fulfilled the archetype of an avenging hero, displaying some tender moments of grief, as well fiery anger.
Though some characters' physicality could have been explored more deeply, the cast should be commended for taking on the challenging Shakespearean language. Despite some melodramatic moments, each actor powered through the production with determined energy.
Student performers were able to capitalize on adult-run technical elements by matching various background music tracks with similar tones in the dynamics of scenes. In addition, the witch and minion ensembles successfully utilized a plethora of macabre props, including a bubbling cauldron of fog and realistic-looking severed limbs.
All in all, the cast and crew of Macbeth successfully captured personae of “murdering ministers…waiting on nature’s mischief.” Displaying a range of poignant, somber scenes and potent rumbles, the production was as beautiful as it was bewitching.