Thursday, May 5, 2016


Equally Represented Arts is back with another enveloping, innovative production that places Shakespeare’s Macbeth at its spine, and includes excerpts ranging from Emily Post's Etiquette and 1950's advertisements, to Sun Tzu's The Art of War, with a little Book of Revelation thrown in for good measure. Whaaa?! And you know what else? It works. Created by an ensemble of theatre artists and accented and complemented by ERA’s trademark movement and choreography, these dissimilar texts are carefully and shrewdly woven through one of Shakespeare’s most well-known tragedies, resulting in a surprising harmony between the Bard’s story of murderous ambition, and our modern, media-soaked, consumer-driven world of consumption. It’s also quite a blast.

Welcome to the Macbeth’s for a dinner party that you won’t soon forget.

Upon arrival you’re given a birthday card, a drinking glass and a script for a little non-intimidating read-along action later on. After being welcomed by the party hosts, you’re seated, while the rest of the cast strolls around in character with the men carrying umbrellas like swords at their hips. The seating is along opposing walls of the chapel, or you can be seated at the long dining table, impressively and formally appointed courtesy of scenic designers Kristin Cassidy, Wilson Webel, and director Lucy Cashion. 
Ellie Schwetye, Carl Overly, Jr., Rachel Tibbetts, Mitch Eagles,
Nic Tayborn and Maggie Conroy. 
Photo credit: Wilson Webel
Etiquette queen, Emily Post (Ellie Schwetye), kicks things off by going over a few preliminary dinner party do's and don'ts along with proper cigarette techniques for ladies. From there, we transition straight into Shakespeare’s witches (Schwetye, Maggie Conroy and Rachel Tibbetts) planning to meet Macbeth (Mitch Eagles) and Banquo (Nic Tayborn), laying out the prophecies that set the Macbeths' on their murderous path. It’s all the more fascinating if you have a basic knowledge of Macbeth, but ERA’s production will grab your attention regardless. There’s something about the merchandising of Dial soap and household cleaners butted up against a play where you know some really messy, bloody business is about to commence -- the blood here represented by shredded newspapers.
ERA’s “Trash Macbeth”
Photo credit: Wilson Webel
Did I mention there’s also string? The measured cutting of string by the witches early on ends up with them stringing out a cat's cradle styled web that the Macbeths ultimately find themselves caught up in. Love...

Eagles gives a terrific performance as Macbeth, with an equally strong performance by his instigator and partner in crime, Tibbetts as Lady Macbeth. Schwetye is a perfectly prim Emily Post, and Conroy is solid as an ill-fated, very pregnant (cigarette smoking) Lady Macduff. Carl Overly, Jr. shines as Macduff, particularly after learning of the fate of his family, and Tayborn is an engaging Banquo. There’s some very cool accompanying jazz, doo-wop and snappy ad tunes music throughout, courtesy of composer and musician, Joe Taylor. In addition to the cast, music and scenic design, Meredith LaBounty’s costume design features the women in 50’s style dresses (Lady Macbeth sports a dress with an above the waist corselet of brillo pad packaging), and the men in smart dark suits. The Macbeth’s royal garb alone is almost worth the price of admission.

Macbeth (Mitch Eagles).
Photo credit: Wilson Webel
ERA is known for making great use of, among other things, pre-recorded audio and overlapping lines to create an atmosphere that immerses you in the action, and under the outstanding direction of ERA's artistic director Lucy Cashion, there’s unexpected hilarity from the darkest of scenes, game show moments involving the three witches (they’re all kind of scared of Hecate), and chilling anticipation as Lady Macduff meticulously folds baby clothes or crosses the names of the doomed off scrolls. If you’re on the adventurous side, this is a production not to be missed. Get a ticket now.


Directed by Lucy Cashion
through May 7 | tickets: $15 - $20
Performances April 27-May1, May 4-7 at 8pm

Maggie Conroy and Rachel Tibbetts.
Photo credit: Wilson Webel
Lady Macduff, 2nd Witch: Maggie Conroy
Macbeth, Murderer 3: Mitch Eagles
Macduff, Murderer 2: Carl Overly, Jr.
Emily Post, 1st Witch: Ellie Schwetye
Banquo, Murderer 1: Nic Tayborn
Lady Macbeth, 3rd Witch: Rachel Tibbetts

Stage Manager and Assistant Director: Gabe Taylor
Lighting Designer and Fight Choreographer: Erik Kuhn
Costume Designer: Meredith LaBounty
Scenic Designers: Kristin Cassidy, Wilson Webel and Lucy Cashion
Composer, Musical Arranger, and Musician: Joe Taylor
Musician: Philip Zahnd
Dramaturg: Will Bonfiglio
Managing Producer: Katy Keating
Production Intern: Wilson Webel

Joe Taylor and Philip Zahnd.

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