Don’t worry too much about the Macbeth review. The play was a short run . . . an enjoyed run, but still short. Take a look at our comments and consider visiting PLU for entertainment. We look forward to seeing more productions. As an adult, I think I have only seen three PLU productions. As a teenager I saw one – Toad of Toad Hall. I enjoyed it and there were no deaths involved.
Don’t ever worry about finding your way around PLU. We had to ask for directions on campus to find the theater. A student gave us details that were friendly and perfect. The theater had open seating. Once inside Peg and I chose third row seats on the aisle. Lavinia sat directly behind us. Behind us the seats climbed half-way to the stars . . . maybe a little shorter. I wish I had chosen front row center (my favorite position). Up close lets me see expressions, connections and costumes. I would have loved seeing the movements and responses of the witches. In Macbeth the witches rule.
The set was empty, but offered a feeling of castles with stone work and empty hallways echoing swords, movement, and incantations.
The 27-member cast of Macbeth worked well together in support of presenting the supernatural and emotional roller coaster play of Shakespeare in which over-vaulting ambition runs amok. Bill Nowicki and Ahmira Elyard-Jaeger, as Lord and Lady Macbeth, are equally nimble with language of the play and are interesting to watch as they descend from designated nobility to mere shadows of demonic nature. They are shot through with evil until Lady Macbeth takes her own life and Macbeth sees Birnam Forest moving toward his castle and he does battle “with no man of woman born”. Both actors achieve this arc of horror with commitment, intelligence, and grace.
Banquo, a decent and honorable nobleman, a friend and victim of Macbeth, is played by Brady Grahe. Grahe is one of the cast members who wears his royalty well – he is natural, centered and believable. His carriage lets the audience know he is one of the good guys. He warns Macbeth against susceptibility to the predictions of the Witches and is rewarded by Macbeth with murder. His son Fleance, played by Clover Laguz, escapes and lives on well past the end of the play to become father to a line of kings. Clover Laguz also plays Young Siward, the son of an honored Scottish warrior and Earl of Northumberland. Laguz fights Macbeth in his final scene, and shows nobility and bravery in complete contrast to Macbeth’s wild savagery – a fight they accomplish with flawless execution.
Kody Smith develops a strong and sympathetic character as Macduff, the Thane of Fife. The Witches have told Macbeth to “beware MacDuff” and Macduff, who has refused to accept Macbeth’s succession to the crown, leaves the country to join up with Malcolm, the assassinated King Duncan’s son. Kody Smith has a strong stage presence, never more in evidence than when his character learns that Macbeth has murdered his wife and son. The entire audience grieves with him, momentarily. He acknowledges his bond of love to his family and then tells Malcolm he will become the agent of retribution and restore Scotland to its rightful King. Kody Smith is an actor to watch for in the future, if he wishes to pursue the art.
Lady Macduff, lovingly played by Kyra McCloud, and Young Macduff, played by Austin Vo, create a memorable scene show playful banter between a mother and her son, moments before mayhem arrives in their home. Austin Vo, receives the tenderest and most heartfelt laugh of the evening, when he tops his mother in a one-upmanship game about loyalty to Macduff. He takes us instantly from delight to tragedy. Good work, Austin!
Zivia Knickrehm Rich as King Duncan, does a fine job in maintaining an effortless high status on stage and also exudes warmth and welcome to those under her command.
In all, the entire cast has fun with the play. They are supported by lights, costumes and a sound plot that helps them tell the story every step of the way.
The “Weird Sisters” played by Peyton Noreen (Witch 1), Kay Fitton (Witch 2), and Iyana Simone Scott (Witch 3) brilliantly incorporate their voices, physicality, costumes, lights and sound effects to produce the most pervasive atmosphere of the evening – there is evil afoot and there’s not much anyone can do against it. The trio is irresistible and frequently work together as if they were one demon rather than 3 dangerous hags.
Here is a review of two local productions of Macbeth from several years ago. One was a backyard production and one was from Tacoma Little Theatre. – https://thesubtimes.com/2018/05/18/the-scottish-play-macbeth-backyard-beyond/
We would be amiss if we didn’t thank the actor who did the curtain speech and also the low-humored turn with phallic punchlines (one of Hecate’s spirits?). We couldn’t find you in the program but were grateful for your contribution to the evening’s scarifying.
Future productions from Pacific Lutheran School of Music, Theatre & Dance should be on everyone’s theatrical “play list.”
After Macbeth ended, many of the audience members stayed around to congratulate the actors and everyone else involved with the production. The three of us all enjoyed the presentation AND the smiling faces afterwards.