BWW Review: MACBETH at Actors' Shakespeare Project
In Saturday Night's performance of Macbeth at The United Parish Church, Brookline, MA, Nael Nacer as Macbeth, (and in an inspired bit of casting as Macduff's son), was truly outstanding, backed by a strong company of actors. This production of Macbeth is the world premiere of a new verse translation by playwright Migdalia Cruz, courtesy of Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Play on! Project. The result was a truly enjoyable evening of classical theatre, that enhanced the meaning and understanding of the "Scottish Play", and embraced diversity and non-traditional casting. Other stand-outs in the cast were Maurice Parent as Banquo, Paige Clark, as Lady Macbeth, Ed Hooperman as Macduff, and Kai Tshikosi as Malcom.
The Play follows a brave Scottish general named Macbeth who, after achieving great success in battle, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his, no less ambitious wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne for himself. He is then wracked with guilt and paranoia. Forced to commit more and more murders to protect himself from enmity and suspicion, he soon becomes a tyrannical ruler. The bloodbath and consequent civil war swiftly take Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into the realms of madness and death, and presents one of the only plays by Shakespeare, that ends with no heroes.
The subtle Direction by Dawn M. Simmons, the excellent scenic design by John Savage, and the very creative yet sparse lighting design by Laura Hildebrand, along with the excellent pacing and flow of the production, within the confines of the very large church, created a moody period feel that lifted and enhanced the overall production. The church is not an idea space to present plays, the seating is in pews and is uncomfortable, and due to the cavernous ceilings sometimes the more subtle moments, and diction are lost. However, this just illustrates the dire need, in the high priced real estate market of the Boston area, for more small and mid-sized properly equipped theatre spaces. The Actor's Shakespeare Project is doing incredible work, and after all these years in existence in the Boston area they deserve a permanent and proper theatre to call home each year. Having said that, they have done an admirable job of making the United Parish Church work as best they can, and Kudos to Pastor Kent French and his congregation for providing this space.
Resident Acting Company cast members include:
Steven Barkhimer* (Duncan, Porter), Maurice Parent* (Banquo).
Other cast members include: Nael Nacer* (Macbeth), Paige Clark*
Additional roles played by members of the ensemble.
The Creative team includes Jon Savage** (Scenic Design), Laura Hildebrand (Lighting Design), Rachel Padula-Shufeldt, (Costumes), Elizabeth Cahill (Sound), Joe Stallone (Props), Suzanne MacDonald (Dramaturg), Jesse Hinson* (Violence Designer), Christine Hamel* (Vocal Coach), Marsha Smith* (Stage Manager), Lauren Burke* (Assistant Stage Manager) and Deb Sullivan (Production Manager).
Actors' Shakespeare Project kicks off their 15th Season
With Macbeth and Equivocation in rotating repertory at the United Parish in Brookline.
Performances September 26 - November 1, 2018
Regular Performance Schedule: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays at 7:30 PM, Saturdays at 3PM and 8 PM and Sundays at 3 PM with post-show conversations.
The Sanctuary, United Parish, 210 Harvard Street, Brookline. For more information visit actorsshakespeareproject.org
Tickets are $25-$60.00 ($15 student rush) and can be purchased at
OR at the Box Office one hour before curtain, although selection may be limited. Senior discount tickets are $5 off of regular priced tickets. Groups of 10+ may reserve seats for select performances via 617.776.2200 x225.
About Actors' Shakespeare Project (ASP)
Actors' Shakespeare Project is an award-winning professional theater company with a Resident
Acting Company and extensive education, youth and community programs. ASP performs and
works in found spaces, schools, theaters and neighborhoods to present and explore the robust
language, resonant stories, and deeply human characters in Shakespeare's plays and in works
by other great playwrights. Our work is ensemble-based and focused on intimacy, storytelling,
language, relationships, voice, risk and artistry within and throughout the Boston area.