Upon the Heath

This ingenious Macbeth delighted and haunted me. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a Shakespeare production that felt simultaneously so ancient–unison chant, sand and wood design–and so contemporary, with lines about a country that does not know itself, awaiting a fresh horror every day, pinging–regrettably–anew. It also felt remarkably Shakespearean–single-sex ensemble, double-casting, minimal set, rapid transitions, the text creating the scene–and, of course, astutely modern in a female ensemble that cast those lines about daring to do all that may become a man in rightfully distancing light… I was also impressed that, in the small studio space, the play could feel both deeply intimate–a portrait of a marriage unraveling–and epic–a country on the verge of apocalypse. By the final performance of time and place, we seemed less on the cusp of modern England than back to the original question of when and where to meet again, as though the weird sisters were bound in a compulsion to repeat this trauma without ever quite exorcising it. Watching the attempt to oust a tyrant in the House, who would doubt them? But even if the cycles of political history seemed inescapable, there was such brio and theatrical imagination in the telling, and such faith in the human voice and body to sustain a narrative, that it made me feel we weren’t doomed after all.

Daniel Pollack-Pelzner
Ronni Lacroute Chair in Shakespeare Studies
Linfield College English Department