Classic Shakespeare Play Gets A New Face

Posted by Brent Treash

A Shakespeare classic returns to the Emory & Henry College stage, but with a special twist.

Emory & Henry College theatre students will perform a production of the famous tragedy of “Macbeth,” from April 12-15 in the McGlothlin Center for the Arts, Kennedy-Reedy Theatre.

The special twist to the performance is the predominantly female cast, with the exception of one male. The actors will perform in cross-gender roles in the story that tells of the corrupt and savage rise to power by the Scottish general Macbeth.

Director Carrie Smith Lewis from the Barter Theatre says the female-heavy casting was not intentional.

“At the auditions, I wasn’t looking to make a statement or anything. I was going to cast whoever best fit these parts, and the women at the audition fulfilled the male character roles,” remarked Lewis. “Additionally, the reason I was able to cast this way and cast the people I did was because they were so hungry to work on a Shakespearean play like ‘Macbeth’.”

Cast members began preparing for the play in January by analyzing the textual and lingual components of “Macbeth.” Following their research and analysis, formal rehearsals started in February.

Amongst the challenges in the production process, the building of sets, costume design and lighting, nothing was more challenging than understanding the textual significance of a renowned playwright. 

“Like anybody doing a Shakespeare play, whether you are professional or amateur, they were all nervous,” noted Lewis. “It seems overwhelming because the language can be seen as archaic and dense. So, it can be quite intimidating, but I think I can confidently say now that they are all Shakespeare lovers.”

Each cast member will remain in the traditional gender roles of the original script. Actresses in male roles are being challenged to find new ways to approach their characters in this unique production.

“They blow me away everyday, their energy and their willingness to learn and adapt. They’re just incredible,” said Lewis. “I’m really excited to see what these amazing women are capable of.”

Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on April 12-14. The Sunday matinee will be at 3 p.m. The McGlothlin Center for the Arts is located at 30481 Garnand Drive in Emory, Va.

For more information about the the McGlothlin Center for the Arts visit https://www.ehc.edu/mca/.

  • Macbeth Poster
    Macbeth Poster
“At the auditions, I wasn’t looking to make a statement or anything. I was going to cast whoever best fit these parts, and the women at the audition fulfilled the male character roles.”

Location:

McGlothlin Center for the Arts

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