From April 30th to May 2nd, Le Moyne’s faculty run theatre company Boot and Buskin combined efforts with the Chamber Orchestra to perform Macbeth In Concert. The show featured the plot of the classic Shakespeare play with several unique twists. Starring the full orchestra right on the stage and an all-female cast, the show breathed new life into the Shakespearean tragedy by effectively utilizing these unique storytelling elements.
From the outset of the show, the viewer was challenged with the idea of gender. Banners that read “Dunsinane Academy: Women for Tomorrow” were hung from the top of the set, referencing the setting of the play and emphasizing the use of actresses in a traditionally male-dominated production. One heard sound clips of a discussion on the play, cut and layered over one another to drone on and on about the distinct separation of gender in the play. Scenes of murder and battle are consistently referred to in a masculine sense while contrasted with feminine actions and ideals. The same language appeared in the lines throughout the play like a challenge to these ideas.
Meghan Lees ‘20 played the title character and expertly displayed the inner conflict she struggles with from the play’s first scene. Every action, intonation, and expression in her performance portrayed the battle within, between her character’s morals and aspirations. The audience is made to feel for Macbeth, even if we may disagree with her deceitful actions. One could feel the struggle she felt with each decision she made as we question some of the same moral dilemmas she did.
Lees’ performance was bolstered by her counterparts as well. The witches, played by Mattea McDonald ‘18, Rachel Crumley ‘18, and Kit Kuebler ‘19, entranced both Macbeth and the audience with their ghastly antics and grim prophecies. Their equivocations built up one of the most burning questions of the entire play: is our fate set in stone, or do we decide it? Macbeth’s acceptance and adherence to their predictions could have led the viewer to either answer. Noelle Killius ‘18 and Jade Miori ‘19 also gave inspired performances as Lady Macbeth and Macduff, respectively.
Perhaps the most intriguing feature of the show was the orchestra playing throughout the performance. Shakespeare’s play on its own, even in its abridged fashion, already had a distinct atmosphere of treachery and impending doom. This overhanging feeling of dread and darkness was enhanced by the additional sensory stimulation the orchestra provides, intensifying these feelings even more. The music and the actresses played off each other’s energies, bringing forth greater emotion in their performances and in the audience’s reaction, resulting in a truly haunting and moving rendition of a well-known show. In short, Macbeth In Concert brought forth new ideas to an old work and did so in a thought-provoking way.