Macbeth - Second Age Theatre Company (Cian Rea)
My year group and I recently attended the Second Age Theatre Company’s production of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, in the Helix. The play follows the trials and tribulations of Macbeth upon his search for power and eventual downfall and destruction.
I found this production of the timeless classic a little underwhelming. Although it was my first time seeing any sort of play at the theatre I felt that this interpretation was found lacking. It has to be said that there were many good aspects also. The main part of Macbeth, played by the very talented Will Irvine, was very well portrayed throughout. Irvine’s great bellowing voice carried well in the room and his stage presence was excellent.
The majority of the actors on stage played their parts to their fullest ability but it was the few that lagged behind that brought down the overall quality of the production. Enda Kilroy, who played Banquo was a little rigid throughout and didn’t act with the same fluidity that the others did.
The smaller parts in this play really threw me. The lack of actors lead to some people playing more than one role which made it very hard to keep track of who was who. Other actors who played smaller roles with fewer lines showed their inexperience as they muffled through their words and nervously staggered around the stage. In certain scenes the level of acting skill made the play seem cheap and amateurish.
|'Fair is foul. and foul is fair:'|
'Perhaps the same can be said for David Horan’s Macbeth, brought to us by the Second Age Theatre Company. A contemporary take on the timeless tragedy by Shakespeare, we see use of intriguing set, sound and lighting design with mixed performances merged and blended together to produce David Horan’s unique, yet unusual interpretation of the Scottish play.'- D. Devanney
Apart from the acting I thought the staging of this play was excellent. The use of the giant windowed doors at the back of the stage gave the simple settings in this play another dimension. It allowed the audience to be part of the illusion of the play, like when Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo, we see his “reflection” in the windows of the doors. It was the little things like that that tied the play together really well. The combination of the lighting and the smoke on stage positively added to the eerie, mystical atmosphere surrounding the witches. It gave the illusion that these supernatural beings are constantly shrouded by a mystical fog. The only downside to the overall staging was the choice of costumes for the various characters. The three witches were depicted as masked men in what looked like an old-fashioned pilot’s uniforms. It tarnished the idea of them being the “three sisters” and had me confused from the beginning.
Following Duncan’s murder, we are introduced to the Porter played by Damian Kearney. The Porter’s role was to provide comic relief for the audience following the intense events of the previous scene. No one could really argue that Kearney didn’t fulfil that brief but I felt he took it a little too far. The blatant sexual humour got everyone laughing the first time but then, he just kept going. The same jokes over and over debauched the storyline a little and the timeless play turned into a cheap pantomime.Although he adapted very well to the teenage audience, it was obvious that the diehard theatre fans were not as impressed . My favourite aspect of this production was how the director created the scenes where people were killed. The use of Radiohead’s “Videotape” along with the dramatic slow-motion and red sand in place of blood all combined to make the otherwise normal killings into something memorable for the audience. It made it far more dramatic and the red sand was a very clever idea as it was one of the few props used in the production and was by far the most effective. The playing of the song made these scenes stand out in my mind looking back because it is the only time we really saw sound used to enhance the actions on stage.
Weighing up the various pros and cons of this production of Macbeth, I feel that there was a lot left to be desired. If they could have improved the little things like the number of actors or even had more appropriate costuming it would have been far more enjoyable. I feel they tried too hard to bring this classic into the 21st century and strayed away from what has made this Shakespearean masterpiece so famous.