“They think me Macbeth, and ambition is my folly”
I approach a group of students chatting outside the drama room. My timing is purposeful; seventh period Advanced Drama just got out of class, making it likely that some of the students who lingered to chat are involved with the upcoming fall play. I’m in luck. I encounter the actors and actresses who play two sisters, a queen, and witch and more. They happily share their thoughts on the theatre department’s next production, “Macbeth,” and in the process leave no doubt in my mind that this fall play will be a must-see.
The drama department’s take on Shakespeare’s famous tragedy involves a few twists. At the auditions, which took place before summer vacation, there were not enough boys to fill all the male parts. In response, drama cleverly decided to gender-swap the roles. Consequently, Macbeth, everyone’s favorite power-hungry Scottish noble, is now a woman who wants to become queen, and all the pronouns are switched.
“Since that time in Scotland was patriarchal, the feminized way Shakespeare wrote Macbeth—he’s told to be a ‘flower’—almost makes more sense when placed with a female Macbeth,” said junior Colleen Moore, who portrays one of the royal daughters of Queen Duncan, whom Macbeth is trying to overthrow.
Drama changed the setting too. Instead of taking place in medieval Scotland, “Macbeth” will now unfurl in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic and matriarchal future society. The futuristic backdrop creates a contrast with the Shakespearean dialogue. Students who have read the play before (hi, juniors!) will find it exciting to explore the differences and similarities with the version they’ve studied.
All of the actors have embraced their roles and come together to explore their characters and master intense fight choreography.
“I just like working with everybody,” said junior Aeryn Black, who plays Hecate. “We do so much ensemble building that if you need to ask someone for help around campus you can always find somebody.”
Despite traditional theater superstitions about the cursed nature of “The Scottish Play,” Northwood drama students remain confident that their work is paying off in the form of an entertaining and successful performance that will delight audiences and provide a fresh and dramatic take on a universally loved, action-filled story.