by Lorie Lewis Ham
If you have ever seen MacBeth on stage, I guarantee you that haven’t seen a production like the one currently on stage at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia. This is a multimedia production unlike anything I’ve ever seen.
The basic plot of Shakespeare’s MacBeth is that a brave Scottish general named Macbeth receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition, and encouraged by his wife, Macbeth decides to take matters into his own hands to make the prophecy come true and he murders King Duncan and takes the Scottish throne. He is then wracked with guilt and paranoia. Forced to commit more and more murders to protect himself, he soon becomes a tyrannical ruler. The bloodbath and civil war swiftly take Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into the realms of madness and death.
While the basic plot is still the same in this production, it has been modernized and made more relevant to our times with a setting on the US/Mexican Border and by including a drug war and current politics. Brilliantly mixing video with the action on stage makes this feel more like a modern day action/thriller than Shakespeare, though the dialog remains the same. Some of the dialog is spoken in Spanish, which is fitting for the setting. Mason Beltran Garcia does a excellent job of bringing MacBeth to life and portraying the mix of emotions the character experiences and his transformation into a tyrant. Brittney Burris also does a good job of showing us the many sides of Lady MacBeth. The fight choreography is some of the most realistic I’ve seen on stage. The “ghosts” of MacBeth’s victims seem almost more like zombies, making this a perfect show for the month of Halloween. The lights, and smoke added a nice touch to the atmosphere. The witches, played by Rihab Boumzough, Olivia Gonzales, and Kayla Mendoza, were thoroughly creepy. And even though some of the iconic lines such as “Double, Double, Toil and Trouble” were spoken in Spanish, they were easily recognizable.
The entire cast did a good job, and while I’m never sure what I’m going to see when seeing an updated version of a Shakespeare play, this one was really well done! If you are a fan of Shakespeare, don’t miss this production, but even if you don’t think Shakespeare is for you I challenge you to go see this production, as you not will be disappointed! Major kudos to Chris Mangels and his entire crew for putting together such a unique multimedia production of MacBeth.
The Tragedy of MacBeth continues through October 21 at College of the Sequoias Performing Arts 915 S Mooney Blvd, Visalia, California. Tickets can be purchased online and at the box office. For more info you can also check out their Facebook event page.
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