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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

 
MACBETH
at the Clemente Soto Velez Center

MORE TOIL THAN TROUBLE
By SANDY MACDONALD

  Julian Rozzell, Jr. and Elizabeth Mirarchi/Ph: David Gibbs

If you're going to tackle a well-known classic, it helps to bring some originality to the table. Also, you'll want to muster your A-team.

With Macbeth, the Hipgnosis Theatre Company has done neither. The full extent of director John Castro's concept is to flood the stage with light, suggestive of - according to a press release - our "sleep-deprived" urban world. (Judging from personal experience, sleeplessness is not an issue.)

And the casting choices beggar logic: Why place the weakest actors in lead roles while employing stronger talents as subalterns? With his question-mark posture and pleading air, Julian Rozell's body language telegraphs that this Macbeth is beaten before he has begun. Sure, Macbeth must answer to a higher power - his domineering wife, played insipidly by Elizabeth Mirarchi - but he'd have to have enough gumption to inspire his troops. Nick Brooks initially shows promise as his principal adversary, Macduff, but devolves into lock-jaw mannerisms better suited to a Steven Seagal movie. Several secondary roles are smartly filled unfortunately, I can't ascribe credit, because the cast list often dispenses with proper names for the likes of "bloody captain." All three witches - Rachel Tiemann, Amelia Workman, Bryn Boice - are wonderful and appropriately "weird." Costume designer Krista Thomas-Scott does wonders with what is surely a shoestring budget by duct-taping them in white plastic, with gauze across their eyes. They use their curling fingers to feel their way, sightless, like some strange amalgam of baby and patient. Alas, you know how little stage time the witches are allotted. It takes what seems like an eon for the fate they foretell to play itself out.

 


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