By now you might have guessed that I love a good Macbeth. Whether it be one man and ninety minutes, or three and a half hours with a full ensemble, I just can’ get enough of this drama. Yesterday I went to see Lincoln Center’s revival at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre. Ethan Hawke was staring in the title role and though I can’t think of a single movie I’ve ever seen him in, I was excited to see what he could do onstage.

The production value was fantastic. The lighting and sound designs, Japhy Weideman and Mark Bennett respectively, made the show fifteen times better than any production I’ve seen before. The three witches were played by men in drag (Malcolm Gets, John Glover, and Byron Jennings), which was amazing. Brian d’Arcy James owned his scenes as Banquo, and Anne-Marie Duff was marvelous as Lady Macbeth. The only weak link in the cast? In my opinion it was Ethan Hawke. He was monotone and had only one expression (he’s kind of the Kristen Stewart of Broadway). Maybe my prejudice comes from having seen two masters, Patrick Stewart and Alan Cumming, play the role before him, but I was far from impressed.

Regardless though I still enjoyed this production immensely. I’d probably even see it again. That’s just how much I love Macbeth

Brush Up Your Shakespeare: Four Productions Play Broadway Simultaneously – Playbill.com

So this article was published on Playbill a few days ago and I got so excited. I knew they were was a LOT of Shakespeare on Broadway nowadays, and I love the bard, so that’s A-OK by me.

I like to see anything Mark Rylance is in (because he’s amazing) so I’m making Twelfth Night the next to cross off my list. 

Brush Up Your Shakespeare: Four Productions Play Broadway Simultaneously – Playbill.com

When shall we three meet again?

I love Macbeth. It’s my favorite of Shakespeare’s dramas. I studied it while I was abroad in London. I worked at the last broadway revival starring Patrick Stewart (I watched that production 13 times in all it’s 3 hour and 15 minutes of glory). I was excited but honestly skeptical when I learned it would be coming back again this season.

As a one-man show. That was one act and an hour and forty five minutes long. What?! But the silver lining was that Alan Cumming would be the star. He’d be playing all the characters. Still: the prospect was intimidating.

But yesterday I went to see the recent revival and I was absolutely blown the fuck away.

The premise is that Alan Cumming is a patient in an institution playing all these characters in his padded cell. They make full use of the three cameras and screens watching him. In all fairness, there are two actors in the show with him but they are there mostly to watch over him occasionally and sedate him when necessary.

The concept is truly heartbreaking to watch. Any time Cumming gets a little too into the action he’s imagined, the doctors rush in to sedate and put him back into his bed where he curls up in the fetal position and cries briefly.

Alan Cumming is a force to be reckoned with. He’s incredible. During the curtain call, he seemed very humbled and surprised to be receiving so much attention for his out-of-this-world performance.

I love Macbeth and if you do too, this is a production not to be missed.

Disclosure: My company works on this show, but I am in no way shilling for them. 

Alan Cumming Will Bring Toil and Trouble to Broadway in Solo Macbeth; John Tiffany Directs

I can finally talk about how excited I am for this! Mainly because it’s simply Macbeth (my favorite of the Bard’s g) but also because it sound incredibly interesting. 

And Alan Cumming? I’m pretty unable to picture him playing Macbeth, but since he’s done it before and received rave reviews, I’m sure he’ll kill it again.

This will be completely different from the 2008 Patrick Stewart revival of Macbeth, which I was completely in love with (I worked there and watched it 13 or so times), but I’m open to a new interpretation. 

Alan Cumming Will Bring Toil and Trouble to Broadway in Solo Macbeth; John Tiffany Directs

Sleep No More, presented by Punchdrunk, will be worth every single sent of your non-discounted (because there are no discounts!) $75 ticket.  Originally produced in Boston, this theatrical even has been gaining buzz ever since performances started.  I’d had two friends rave about it before I broke down and bought a ticket to go wit Lily, one of my friends from CTI.  (Surprisingly it wasn’t hard at all to convince a theatre person to spend $75 on this.)  

In a run down old building in far west Chelsea (your walk there from the subway will add to your uneasiness for the show), this incredible production team has completely decked out over 100 rooms in completely period props, furniture, and lighting.  The detailing is amazing alone.  Patrons do take a lot of time to examine it extremely closely – which, in a world where you’re told not to touch anything, is a nice change of pace.  After check-in, you’re given a playing card which determines what group you’re in and the you’re led into the bar.  The talented actors playing the hotel bell hops, bartenders, and hostesses never break character.  When your group is called you meet and are escorted onto a large freight lift.  Here you are given your mask (so you can’t tell who anyone is, including your friends) and told the rules: no pictures, no cell phones, no talking (among other things).  Then at floor five he begins to let a few people out before closing the door: “This is something to be experienced alone,” the bell hop says as the door closes and he does the same thing on the third and fourth floors.  Luckily, I was let out on the 2nd floor with Lily.  

The story that you’re supposed to see is loosely Macbeth (one of my absolute favorite tragedies by Shakespeare).  I had been told by friends who had experienced it previously that you should follow the actors so you’ll see EVERY thing.  So as soon as we saw a man in a tuxedo we went after him.  Sometimes you have run, in dim lighting, after the actors and down stairs as well.  We ran up and down countless flights of stairs but I will venture to say that the adrenaline and anticipation of “what’s going to happen next?” kept us going.  We saw a dinner scene, an elaborate dance, the scene in which Lady Macbeth is vigorously washing blood – that isn’t really there – off herself in a bathtub (and yes, she was naked), there’s an orgy scene, and a couple of fight/conflict scenes that are beautiful modern dance sets.  

There were tons of other rooms too but I won’t give too much away.  Lily and I lost each other after going to chase one of the actors after the dance, and I completely freaked out.  I was alone in a dark room with barely anyone else around.  I soon found another group, and about half an hour later, found Lily, and everything was fine.  The next time we lost each other, I didn’t freak out.  I knew that we’d eventually find each other again.  

After an hour or an hour and a half, you’ll come across the same scene that you’ve witnessed once before and you’ll want to go find a different room (I did) but you should definitely stay and once the scene is over, follow a different character out of the room than the one that you followed the first time.  You’ll see a completely different story and side of things.

We left around 10pm (after having started around 7:20pm) and we were completely exhausted (not to mention covered in dust, and probably a layer of dirt).  

Sleep No More was worth every penny.  It’s the most unique theatre experience you’ll have in New York right now, and maybe even possibly the country.  Where else will you be accosted by insanely talented actors and made part of the story (kind of)?  These are my three pieces of advice should you choose to go:

  1. Wear sneakers.
  2. Check your bag(s) at the door.
  3. Follow the actors.

You may also want to check out some reviews or articles about it, like this one, if you’re still unsure of what it is.  Maybe you even want to read, or watch, Macbeth before going too.  Enjoy!

(photo via)

Patrick Stewart Macbeth to Air on PBS in October

This was an incredible production that I was fortunate enough to see 13 times (I worked there).  I was never so happy to be at a 3 hour show before.  I’m so excited that it’s being shown on PBS, I had no idea they had even filmed it.  Can anyone record this and put it onto a DVD for me?  I will be huddled in my apartment watching this and taking in the production in all of its glory again.

Patrick Stewart Macbeth to Air on PBS in October