Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Lake Braddock High School Macbeth

By • Nov 24th, 2009 • Category: Cappies

Something’s rotten in the state of Scotland. War has ravaged an already ruined land and the fight for the Scottish crown has become ruthless and macabre. And when one infamous Thane aspires for that position, “fair is foul and foul is fair.” Lake Braddock, with their post-Judgment Day rendition of one of Shakespeare’s most infamous tragedies, brought intense drama with swordfights, chilling monologues, and events most wicked.

Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy takes place in during a great war. Macbeth (Hisham El Mawan) along with Captain Banquo (Jimmy Day) is accosted by the Witches of Forres (Rachael Ulmer, Kimmi Johnson, Kate Bongiorno), who tell Macbeth of his future as the King of Scotland and Banquo as the man whose line will provide a line of kings. Spurred on by these predictions and Lady Macbeth (Noelle Viñas), he kills Duncan (Scott Koven), the current king, which starts the beginning of the end for him as he continues to kill in order to maintain power.

As Lady Macbeth, Noelle Viñas showed a surprising and refreshing range of emotion for a high school leading lady, from seductive motivator to Macbeth to deranged lunatic in her final onstage moments. Viñas’ energy was quite noticeable and made her appearances quite anticipated.

As the trio of wicked hags who bring forth Macbeth’s downfall, Rachael Ulmer, Kimmi Johnson, and Kate Bongiorno showed great mastery of often challenging roles. Showing great on- and off-stage chemistry, they were able to sync and succeed as the show’s notable ensemble as they traveled throughout the audience or crumbled in fear of Hecate (Sara Silversmith). A notable scene was their cauldron scene at the top of Act 2, revving interest up for the show’s remaining scenes.

The ensemble did a remarkable job with such a wordy and difficult play to perform in high school, regardless of the superstitions attached to it. Although diction had infrequent imperfections and some stage combat seemed less engaged at times, the cast did well to keep the audience engaged in the plot.

Hannah Dubrow‘s dramatic lighting heightened the tense emotions of the play’s script, using well-timed lighting effects as well as rueful reds on scenes such as Macbeth’s beheading. Dubrow helped to promote the air of a land on the cusp of disparaging anarchy achieved by Alex Kaplan‘s post-apocalyptic set design, including working computer screens along the stage which followed the witches and Lady Macbeth in choice scenes.

From witches to murder, this play is a complex and challenging work to perform, especially in a high school setting. Lake Braddock took off with this challenge and succeeded in bringing Macbeth into the 21st century and maintaining the story that has entertained audiences for centuries. It isn’t foul to applaud the hard work of this cast and crew, and it isn’t fair for one to miss their exhibition of it either.

by Colleen O’Brien of Fairfax High School

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