Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Macbeth

By • Apr 14th, 2008 • Category: Cappies

Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology ably tackled Shakespeare’s tragedy of Macbeth. A challenging production effort, Thomas Jefferson’s cast overcame the obstacles of Macbeth’s language and length with their exuberant energy.

The Scottish play (as it is called in theatre circles) is one of Shakespeare’s most performed tragedies. It chronicles the virtuous Macbeth as he falls into treachery, bringing all of Scotland with him. The Weird sisters, a trio of meddlesome witches, prophesize that Macbeth will gain three grand titles that will culminate in his becoming King. This evil influence begins Macbeth’s tragic decline, taking fate into his own hands to secure the kingship for himself.

Macbeth, played by John Goodwin, is a challenging role requiring the actor to realistically portray the drastic change from brave and noble to consumed with the avarice and ambition leading to his tragic downfall. Goodwin’s facial expressions and physical characterization were delightful as Macbeth slid further and further into insanity. Goodwin brought life to Shakespeare’s archaic language, allowing the audience to at least grasp the meaning if not the words. Lady Macbeth, played by Maya Gueron, is a manipulative woman, who knows exactly what she wants and will sell her soul to get it. Gueron’s emotions were palpable in the audience. Her commitment to character allowed the audience to feel her ambition and watch as it reduced her to insanity.

Patty Rupinen, Jackie Fitzsimmons, and Elena Lagon, playing the witches, were completely committed to their characters. Their serpent-like physical movements and enticingly haunting voices epitomized the persuasive evil that infects Macbeth. Macduff, played by Robby Tracy, was the stereotypical hero. Avoiding greed, Macduff continues to fight for the good of Scotland, even when it means the loss of things near and dear to him. Tracy’s energy and stage presence carried the show during dialogue-heavy scenes. Banquo, played by Will McGarey, and Lady Macduff, played by Olivia Bonin as strong-willed characters effectively foiled the evil of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

The technical aspects of Macbeth were almost entirely student done, including set construction and crew, lighting, sound, make-up and props. Each aspect added to the overall tone of the show. The lighting by Christina Beasley and Kevin Deisz, made use of yellow light during the Witches’ scenes to give an unnatural and haunting feeling. Special spotlights were also used to highlight Banquo’s ghost. A castle wall with working gate and tower comprised the set designed by Natalia Czapski and James Mannion. This provided a very versatile playing space, requiring only subtle changes to denote different settings. Olivia Bonin and Lindsey Doane, makeup artists, used copious amounts of fake blood to create more realistic battles and murders. The impressive stage weapons appeared realistic allowing the audience to believe in the fight sequences. Live drumming during the battles and witches’ scenes further enhanced the mood of the play.

Thomas Jefferson took on Shakespeare’s unabridged Macbeth and certainly rose to the challenge.

by Kate McGinnis of Chantilly

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