Anthony J. Piccione
- OnStage Contributing Critic
On Halloween night, while so many others were out partying, parading, trick or treating or watching horror movies, I had the pleasure of going out to Brooklyn Navy Yard to review a production of Macbeth taking place in a relatively remote location. I admit that in recent years, I’ve become somewhat wary of Shakespearean productions, as I feel they’re a bit overdone. Yet this particular production – presented by the No Name Collective – reminded me why the works of this playwright continue to be produced frequently even in the 21st century, and how they can continue to inspire artists and intrigue theatergoers.
Located at 16 Waverly Avenue, the Scottish play is certainly one of Shakespeare’s darker works, and while it may not explicitly be a Halloween show, it almost feels like the perfect classic play to revive during this time of year, given all the horror elements that are part of the story. The creative ways in which this production brings the play to life especially make it into a very enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing experience.
Arguably, the strongest aspect of this production was the way it was staged in this space and its overall ambiance and atmosphere. The entire set-up of the space and the performance leave the audience with a dark, very spooky vibe that feels perfect for both this play and this time of year. The brilliant use of lighting effects in this production are perhaps just as essential in successfully setting the mood of each scene – and the overall play – as the performances are.
Under the direction of Tatiana Baccari, the cast is able to make great use of a large and somewhat unconventional theatre space and keep the attention of the audience, who watch from various corners of the large space as performers are at the center. I also want to give credit to HannaH Allen, Madeleine Emerick and the Dispatch Combat Collective, whose choreography and fight choreography respectively were another major aspect of what impressed me most about this production.
In terms of the acting, the cast of this production overall was decent, with Annaliese Kirby and Kellan Peavy each doing a fair job in the lead roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. I also particularly enjoyed the performances of the three witches – portrayed by Ellie Gossage, Spencer Gilbard and Jaya Tripathi respectively – who were deeply captivating in their performances, especially in terms of their physicality, even during moments such as the first few minutes of the show, where they hardly said a word. The rest of the ensemble is rounded out by Marlena Holman (Duncan/Hecate/Third Apparition), Daniel Cabrera (Malcolm), Lauren Slakter (Donalbain), Mark Hawkins (Banquo), Ryan Salvato (Macduff), Maggie Hood (Lady Macduff/Messenger/First Apparition), Roman Trevino (Ross/Sergent/Second Murderer) and Allison Houser (Porter).
One of the reasons I personally prefer live theatre to cinema is because while I’ve seen some great things, all of what you’d feel or think in either situation is amplified when you see it happen right in front of you, at least when it’s done right. For me, this production confirms that belief, and it makes me feel glad I didn’t just stay home watching horror movies on Halloween. Given the long applause at the end of the show, I suspect I’m not alone when I say that. There are still a few more performances left of this production, so if you get the chance to come out to Brooklyn and see it, be sure to do so!
“Macbeth" – presented by the No Name Collective – runs at 16 Waverly Avenue, Brooklyn Navy Yard from October 31st to November 5th. For more information, please visit www.wearethenoname.com/macbeth.
Photo by Kamoier Williams