If you’re looking for one of the most mysterious and difficult works of drama in history done according to the heart and soul of the playwright and you’ve given up searching for it in Los Angeles, welcome to North Hollywood and the ’s production of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth in the NOHO Arts District running through August 26th.
The tale of deceit, murder and treachery involving the Scottish king and his wife is pulled-off with aplomb, sensitivity, delicacy and, most importantly, a genuine devotion and dedication to Shakespeare’s language, theme and time.
Using the time-honored tradition of double-casting, director Jessica Kubzansky pulls-off something close to a miracle. Melding actors, a two-tiered set and special effects into a feast of humanity and tragedy rarely seen in such detail and splendor in a large-scale production.
The energy is palpable, monologues and dialogue deeply affecting, sword fights effective and ambiance perfect.
Rob Nagle’s brilliant, understated and giving turn as the Thane of Cawdor (Macbeth) in the Thanes cast compassionately emphasizes every ounce of emotion and feeling. You do not sense an ego as much as a human being at the end of his rope. Nagle also uses humor to get his point across quietly sometimes, but to the point.
Bo Foxworth deserves much credit for an intense and more highly-strung Macbeth. Foxworth’s moments with his Lady Macbeth are nothing less than unforgettable and everlasting in the Kinsmen cast.
Noble gives a life-changing performance from the intense weeping in the first scene to the "spot" monologue towards the end of the play.
Every word, deed and slow death is written on her face, body and voice. Her gift as an actress may indeed dwarf any actor or actress in either cast. One hopes Antaeus makes good use of her in the future.
Tessa Auberjonois (Lady Macbeth) in the Thanes cast brings great empathy and love to her character and is hard not to watch as her madness grows.
Other noteworthy performances include Brian Tichnell (Malcolm, Kinsmen) whose innocence and courage shine, Daniel Blinkoff (Macduff, Thanes) whose stage presence and sense of virtue and justice fit his role perfectly.
Joe Delafield (Lennox) deserves credit for inhabiting both casts with a haunting yet down-to-earth essence.
Peter Van Norden (Duncan, Seyton, Kinsmen) is doubly unique and mind-bending. He navigates the famous "Porter" speech through some very hilarious and turbulent twists and turns.
Joe Holt (Banquo, Kinsmen) gives a strong, varied and powerful performance.
And the three reasons that Macbeth is perhaps set apart from any other work in the history of world literature are individual and imaginative. The trio of witches (Fran Bennett, Bonnie Snyder, Elizabeth Swain, Kinsmen), (Lorna Raver, Jane Carr, Saundra Mc Clain , Thanes) toil and brew beautifully from beginning to end.
Aiding the play are the sound design of John Zalewski, the scenic design of Tom Buderwitz, the lighting design of Jeremy Pivnick and the costume design of Jessica Olson.
The best thing that can be said about this Macbeth is that were he alive, Shakespeare himself would leave the theatre a happier man than when he entered.
Thursdays at 8PM
Fridays at 8PM
Saturdays at 2PM
Saturdays at 8PM
Sundays at 2PM
Talk-backs follow the performance every Thursday night.
The Antaeus Company,
5112 Lankershim Blvd.,
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(one block South of Magnolia; free parking available in Citibank lot on Lankershim Blvd. South of Otsego St.)