Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

August 9, 2010


Berkshire Theater Festival, Stockbridge
through August 14, 2010
by Stacie Beland

Few would argue that "Macbeth" is a play which demonstrates how evil perpetuates, mixes with ambition and envy, and rarely comes to a clean resolution. Macbeth is urged by his wife's undermining his manhood until he consents to take fortune into his own hands. As Macbeth moves to carry out his destiny, the bodies begin to pile up and Macbeth grows literally mad with ambition.

The production, which was laden with quasi-Japanese elements, was stylistically flavored with elements of honor and precisely choreographed, war-like movement. The recitation of the text and the movement by the actors were very stiff and, although correct in the rhythm and musicality of the speech, the line delivery suffered because of this. It was almost as if the stylized movement and costuming stilted the flow of the language and acting. Truly, the production value of this show was extraordinarily high. The performances, however, weren't quite up to the par of the visuals. The rigidity of the movement, the costuming, and the line delivery juxtaposed with the primeval stage dressing, left for a muddled show.

Few can argue that the defining relationship to highlight is that between Macbeth and his Lady. Unfortunately, there seemed to be no discernable connection between the two characters in this production. While C.J. Wilson (Macbeth) and Keira Naughton (Lady Macbeth) are both clearly gifted actors, the relationship between their characters seemed to lag beyond anything past a superficial connection.

As the most striking part of the production, the Three Witches deserve special mention. Their collective performance was quite good, perhaps dangerously so as they sometimes appeared to be in a different show from the rest of the cast. Though more could have been done with their cauldron which was left onstage and unused for the vast majority of the show, it did prove an effective set piece when used.

Berkshire Theatre Festival offers a visually beautiful production of "Macbeth," though there was a disappointing lack of connection between design and the execution of theme. While stunning in its precision, the show ultimately fails in connecting all of its elements.