Lamar University’s Department of Theatre and Dance breathes new life into one of William Shakespeare’s most popular tragedies “Macbeth,” opening Feb. 28. The fast-paced thriller of witches, prophesy, murderous ambition and warfare will run in the University Theatre through March 3.
“It’s a classic play, one of the greatest ever written,” said director Joel Grothe, instructor of theatre. “It deals with the themes of ambition, love, guilt, power – lots of issues that we all struggle with. There’s a reason the play still gets performed today. Add in supernatural elements and swordplay, and you understand why this has been popular with audiences for centuries.”
The shortest and bloodiest of Shakespeare’s tragedies, the action-paced “Macbeth” traces the fateful undoing of an ambitious Scottish general tempted by the prophecies of three mysterious witches and spurred to action by his scheming wife. The Lamar production moves the action to a contemporary setting.
“Using the modern setting is all about trying to capture the spirit of the play and make it clear,” Grothe said. “I don’t think anyone will have problems understanding the action of the play. I think people sell themselves short as an audience, and they are smarter than they think they are.”
This is the second time Grothe has worked on a production of “Macbeth” – he previously played the character of Banquo in a theatre staging in Toronto. A professional actor and director, Grothe is trained in classical theatre, and he completed the Professional Training Program at the American Shakespeare Center.
The play features the largest cast of any Lamar theatre production in the last few years – more than 25 students, faculty and staff will take the stage. Daniel Sharpless, of Nederland, takes on the role of Macbeth, while Natalie Cardona, of Beaumont, plays Lady Macbeth. Other lead roles include Chaz Romero, of Orangefield, as Malcolm; Travon Haggerty, of Baytown, as MacDuff; Stephen Davis, of Beaumont, as Banquo; Steven Hoffman, of Elmira, N.Y., as Rosse; and Maci McFarlin, of Nederland, as Lenox.
Faculty and staff who perform in the production are Andy Coughlan (the Porter), director of student publications; David Hooker (King Duncan), English instructor at the Lamar Institute of Technology; and Golden Wright (the Bleeding Sargent), assistant professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance.
Performances of “Macbeth” will be in the University Theatre, 4400 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway on the Lamar campus. Showtimes are Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m., March 1 at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., March 2 at 7:30 p.m. and March 3 at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for general admission; $10 for senior citizens, students and LU faculty/staff; and $7 for LU students. The play runs approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes with one intermission.
“Macbeth” is the third offering in the Department of Theatre and Dance’s popular “Bard on the Bayou” series, which kicked off in 2011 with “The Tempest,” and continued last season with choreography inspired by the works of William Shakespeare at the Fall Dance Concert.
Call (409) 880-2250 for reservations and additional information, or visit lamar.edu/theatre.