The Scottish Play

UIS Theatre performs supposedly cursed Shakespeare play

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Photographs courtesy of Tiffany Chin

Missy and Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson rehearse their roles in MacBeth.

Megan Swett, Assistant Editor for News

Murder, betrayal, and paranoia combine to create the tale of “Macbeth,” a story so troublesome that many in the theater world consider its name to be a great curse and will only ever refer to it as “The Scottish Play.”

The UIS Theatre’s production of this Shakespearian play, however, was far from cursed.

Billowing wind sound effects set the mood as the audience filed into the Studio Theater. The runway stage, painted gray and lined with metal grates that echoed hauntingly as performers stepped across them, sat in the middle of the room.

When it comes to the works of Shakespeare, many people prefer not to risk attending a production written in a language lost to time. Fear that they will get lost in the “wherefore art thou,” the “unsex me here,” and the “the lady doth protest too much, methinks” drives them away from spending money on a production that they might not be able to follow.

To their credit, the UIS Theatre attempted to remedy this. Within the program distributed at the door, the theatre placed a glossary of words and phrases used within “Macbeth” that might require translation.

However, use of the glossary was neither feasible, nor necessary.

The dim lighting made reading the glossary nearly impossible, and removing your attention from the fast-paced scenes would have been a mistake, anyway.

Regardless, though, the emotionally-charged performance carried on perfectly well without the translation.

Cries of agony, chuckles of joy, and raging internal and external debates over the morality of murder when in the pursuit of one’s rightful destiny spoke a language of humanity that transcends time and linguistic trends.

Scenes of turmoil, like when Banquo’s ghost haunts Macbeth at a dinner party, or when Lady Macduff watches the murder of her young sons, enraptured the audience.

Even in less emotional parts, like when Lady Macbeth’s gentlewoman confronts a doctor about her lady’s odd behavior, or in the brief moment when Ross silently debates whether or not to inform Macduff of his family’s murder, the sensitivity with which the performers embodied their characters was captivating.

The passionate performances were often paired with thrilling fight scenes.

The carefully choreographed, vigorous fights rang of battle cries, clashing metal, and fairly unnerving gurgling as various throats were slit.

After the final battle ended and all was well in Scotland once more, a cast comprised of nine UIS students, six community members, four faculty and staff personnel, and two UIS alumni took the stage for their curtain call.

“Macbeth” was brought to UIS in honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The performance starred Eric and Missy Thibodeaux-Thompson as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and was directed by guest director Bill Kincaid.

More information, including a full list of the “Macbeth” cast and crew, can be found at uis.edu/theatre. Performances will continue through this weekend, Nov. 3-6, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.