REVIEW: MACBETH at The Denver Center

by Emilee Hatfield

The Denver Center’s production of MACBETH opened at the newly renovated Space Theatre on Sept 15th to the excitement of many theatre goers. From the trailers and by word of mouth many heard of the new interpretation that the Denver Center was about to present.

I myself was interested as well. As I have said before in a previous blog entry. Shakespeare has never been my favorite to watch. I have always found it boring, or overdone to an extent. Still I walked into the Space theatre on Tuesday evening with an open mind. Upon entry my attention was not drawn to the hauntingly beautiful and strange designs on the stage, but to the giant pentagram that hung against the ceiling just above the stage with a strange daunting appearance.

Sadly the confusion of what direction this production would go did not stop there. Granted I had been forewarned on multiple occasions that the all male cast would be wearing a lot less clothing and the tone would be much darker than expected. However, for a tone that was bluntly trying to be dark, the lack of weapons and large use of techno music seemed to cause the tone to dissipate almost immediately.

A certain scene that I believe caused the most off the wall moment was the celebration that takes place at Macbeth’s home with the current King Duncan just before he is murdered. The scene completely turns into a club with loud Techno music, arrangements of set pieces that come together to hide most of the actors while the audiences watches awkwardly as they dance.

What could have made up for it was the violence that Macbeth often has as he slowly descends into madness. Sadly there is no use of swords, or weapons within this production; except for one moment. The actors simply use their arm and hand to represent their swords. An interesting choice that … lacks a bit of sense with what the show was trying to do.

The actors themselves were very good, and put their heart clearly into their performance, even getting a bit of a response from the audience. Especially when they would interact with their guests that sat close to them. But still..the show lacked any base of storytellings, with not really a piece of origin or location. Macbeth is clearly originally set in Scotland, and always has been. If you wish to keep elements of the Scottish warriors then the costumes would have been explained along with the tattoo that some actors had. Yet having Duncan and Lady Macbeth wearing classic Victorian costumes threw that idea out the window.

This is where directed Robert O’Hara I feel needed to put limits on what they were trying to do. While what was trying to be a unique and different take on Macbeth turned into something that fell short as I found many audience members shifting in their seats growing very uncomfortable and confused at what they were watching.

MACBETH is playing at the Stage Theatre at the Denver Center Performing Arts Complex through Oct. 29th for tickets you can visit www.denvercenter.org or call the box office at 303-893-4100.

PHOTO CREDIT:  AdamsVisCom

 

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