Shakespeare’s tale of terror
Carl Zeitler plays Macbeth and Valerie Meachum plays his lady at GreenMan Theatre.
GreenMan Theatre, Asbury Hall, First United Methodist Church, 232 S. York, Elmhurst
7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 19-
$17, $15 for seniors and students
Updated: October 15, 2012 5:38PM
The timing couldn’t be better for GreenMan Theatre’s staging of “Macbeth.”
This classic play is filled with even more political intrigue than the current presidential election mania.
And there’s another reason why “Macbeth” is the right choice for this time of year, according to Artistic Director David Soria of Lombard, directing GreenMan’s first Shakespeare show to launch the company’s ninth season. “It reads and plays in some ways like a horror story and we’re doing this at Halloween time,” he said.
Shakespeare’s shortest and bloodiest play revolves around Macbeth’s decision to make real the prophesy of three witches who foretell that he will become King of Scotland. One problem blocks his ascension to the throne — King Duncan. Lady Macbeth encourages her husband to remove that obstacle . Once Macbeth achieves his royal goal a reign of terror begins and the new king becomes consumed with guilt over the path he took.
Many directors change the timeframe and setting of this play but Soria is leaving it in Medieval Scotland, although that’s not crucial to his storytelling. “We’re not being so period specific that somebody who’s a student of medieval Scottish history is going to be able to say, ‘This costume was accurate,’” he related.
“This play is more about the characters, the action, the interactions of the characters,” Soria explained. “It’s a brutal time period. The play begins and ends in rebellion and war. One of the things that I think is so exciting about this play is how Macbeth’s actions and the evil that is introduced into the world infects all of the other characters. We see each of them having to make decisions about their lives and their relationships — both on a personal level and the larger world — based on how they respond to evil. The play feels like a nightmare come to life.”
Glen Ellyn resident Carl Zeitler, who has performed with about a dozen area companies since 2003, plays the title character. This is Zeitler’s seventh show with GreenMan.
He said that he auditioned for “Macbeth” because he was “in the Shakespearean frame of mind” after appearing in “The Taming of the Shrew” this past summer with Batavia Shakespeare on Clark.
Zeitler believes that Macbeth is driven by “ambition, by guilt and by his wife. In the beginning, he’s driven by loyalty to the king, loyalty to his friends and wife. Ambition overtakes that.
“He’s torn in many way,” Zeitler added. “He’s not evil for pure evil’s sake. That makes him interesting to play.”
The actor believes that audiences relate to this tragedy because many people are stuck in a job and long to figure out a way to get ahead. “Obviously, we don’t all do what he did,” Zeitler said, which is kill the competition.
Soria is working to create “an approachable production,” he said, that keeps audiences engaged and never bored.