Renaissance Now Theater & Film will present an adaptation of MACBETH titled MACBETH-REDUX this summer.
From August 17-20, Renaissance Now Theater & Film will bring New York audiences a new adaptation of “Macbeth” titled “Macbeth-Redux” which focuses on the moral issues of the transfer of power. Adapted and directed by Kathy Curtiss, the production adds brief “out of text” passages in modern language that are performed in the style of a “Greek chorus” by thanes and other characters to illuminate the unpredictable and puzzling events of which they are witnesses but are unable to change. Renaissance Now Theater and Film, under the direction of Ms. Curtiss, prepared the play in June 2022 at the Castle Theater in Utah. It will be staged at Theater One (The Lion) in Theater Row, 410 West 42nd Street, for four performances only: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 17 (preview), 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 18 (opening night), 7:30 p.m. August 19 and 3:00 p.m. Sat August 20.
Historically, Scotland was unique in its election of successor to the throne among the thanes. Lineage was considered a factor, but consent was expected from worthy and loyal thanes. Therefore, in the play, much of Shakespeare’s exposition speaks of loyal thanes and traitors in their defense against the Norwegians at the start of the play. The most worthy thane for the succession was MacBeth, but Duncan named his young son Malcolm as heir after the first battle. The effect of this slight policy proves an inciting moment for the piece and is here recorded in the “out of text” banter between Thanes Ross, Angus and Seyton. They serve as a Greek-style choir, representing the common man’s response to their plight. The play also goes “out of text” in a scene with Lord and Lady MacBeth as they discuss her son from another marriage and their status as a barren couple at this time of dire need to establish an heir. The witches, to symbolize the play of choice with chance and destiny, also jump “off-text”, developing both humor and this theme in their exchanges.
Director Kathy Curtiss explains that her concept of mixed texts is intended to illuminate the viewer’s view of historical events in the same way that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern illuminated Beckettian themes in Tom Stoppard’s take-off on “Hamlet.” The aim is to evoke great feelings of gratitude in all those who stood helpless as our own nation grappled with the succession struggle unfolding before our eyes.
The design suggests medieval Scotland with modern touches to add period relevance. The set suggests the ruins of a stone castle structure to indicate the effects of war. Music is traditional Scottish bagpipes and drumming, as well as Celtic folk songs.
Kathy Curtiss, Artistic Director of Renaissance Now Theater & Film, regularly stages Shakespeare in the Parking Lot by The Drilling Company, for whom she directed “Comedy of Errors”, “The Tempest”, “Twelfth Night”, ” A Midsummer Nights Dream”, “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Love’s Labors Lost” and was fight director for “Hamlet”, “Romeo & Juliet” and “Othello”. She also directed an original translation/adaptation of “The Seagull” for The Drilling Company. She has also directed in Santa Barbara the SB Shakespeare Company (“Hamlet”, “The Three Musketeers”), the Center Stage Theater (“True West”, “Lion in Winter”) and numerous seasons at the Castle Shakespeare festival in Utah. . His resume directing original scripts includes “Beloved” at Theater Row, “We are the People” and “Ancestors” for the Scandinavian American Theater Company, “A Final Toast” for the New Perspectives Theater Company and “Samaritans” for the ‘Oberon Theatre. His work directing experimental works in New York includes a physical theater piece, “Wing to the Rooky Wood”, for the New York International Fringe Festival, an avant-garde “A Lie of the Mind” for the festival Sam Shepard from the Michael Chekhov Theater Company, and Renaissance Now’s production of “Romeo & Juliet” at New York Bohemian Hall and “Diaries of Romeo and Juliet” at New Perspectives Theater Company. She has served as an acting and filmmaking instructor in ten BFA college programs in New York and nationwide and has directed and produced short films and documentaries.
The cast are: Marvin Payne as Duncan, Zachary Ballard as Macbeth, Mira Kocherhans as Lady Macbeth, Anton Moss as Banquo, Jacob Thomasen as Malcolm, Logan Murphy as Donnalbain, Adam Argyle as MacDuff; Logan Murphy, Olivia Casper and Olympia Pead as the witches; Stephano Puertas as Ross, Mason Tarwater as Angus, Gavin Henry as Seyton, Keely Conrad as Witch/Celtic Singer and Abby Tarwater as Lady/Warrior.
Combat direction is provided by Matthew Carlin (SAFD member). The Celtic dance and song are by Keely Conrad. Sound and lighting design is by Richard Curtiss. The scenic design is by Janice Chan. The costume consultant is Rebecca Nibley. The privacy advisor is Jeremy Sortore.
Renaissance Now Theater & Film produces new works and reimagines classic works that illuminate the human condition through a contemporary lens. His productions have included classics and experimental works at the New York International Fringe Festival and the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival, guest performers at The New Perspectives Theater Company (“The Diaries of Romeo & Juliet”), and 20 years of production at the Castle Shakespeare Festival in Utah. The society sponsors new writing and short, feature and documentary films.
Photo by Rych Curtiss.