Sunday, May 11, 2008


Chicago is fortunate to have many fine theater companies. Last night I attended a production of Macbeth by one of those companies, Greasy Joan and Co. Their production of Macbeth, directed by Julieane Ehre, was performed in contemporary dress with a simple but effective stage representing "a fantastical world of 'the future'". The emphasis was on the growth of tyrannical power, and as the evening wore on and the murders accumulated the power of Macbeth seemed to increase, that is until the denouement when he and his power collapse quickly with the suicide of Lady Macbeth and his death. While the acting of the leads was effective, all of the parts of the play did not seem to cohere. The emphasis on the tyranny and brute force overshadowed the impact of the psychological forces at work, while the omnipresent spirits/witches were difficult to reconcile with the futuristic setting of the tale. In spite of this there were some impressive moments of theater, especially the scene with Banquo's ghost that effectively opened the second part of the performance. Overall it was an engaging evening of theater with a somewhat flawed performance of one of the greatest tragedies in the repertoire.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Performed by Greasy Joan & Co.

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