'A Macbeth' enjoyable despite shortcomings

By Josh Dalton

Arizona Daily Wildcat

William Shakespeare has long been recognized without much dispute as history's greatest playwright. Everything he wrote is considered classic literature. So what could be gained by trying to improve on the work of this master?

META Theatre is currently presenting an adaptation of "Macbeth" written by Charles Marowitz called "A Macbeth." It has the same plot as the original: A Scotish knight (Keith Degreen Jr.), spured on by his own perverse ambitions along with those of his wife (Julia Matias) and three witches (Susan Mullen, Jen Rossiter-Nelson and Christina Walker), kills his king and takes the throne.

But because "A Macbeth" is an adaptation, there are some critical differences between it and the original. Marowitz decided that he wanted to focus on the presence of black magic in the original. The according changes were made and Lady Macbeth is presented as Hecate, queen of the witches. They are one and the same. This adaptation suggests that Lady Macbeth goes crazy because the witches turn on her and shred her sanity, eventually killing her.

The play also relays much of the reluctancy of Macbeth to be involved in the plot. With this comes the insertion of second and third Macbeth characters that serve as walking consciences or walking demons.

To META's credit, much of the Shakespearean aspects of the original "Macbeth" have remained intact. Much of the lines of the original are spoken, although they are often out of order or repeated several times. There are also several dream sequences and trances that are wonderfully near what Shakespeare might have meant them to be.

Another aspect of "A Macbeth" that would in all likelihood be quite satisfactory to Bill the Bard is the set and lighting design by Robin Aaberg. The lighting is quite dark and the sets bare, yet they fully satisfy the appearance of a castle and forest simultaneously.

Between spinning and lying peacefully in his grave is where Shakespeare must be when considering what has been done to his work. "A Macbeth" is still enjoyable despite its various injustices to the original, but one suspects that Shakespeare cannot help wishing for a little more loyalty.

"A Macbeth" runs until Nov. 6. For more information call META Theatre at 882-8446.

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