To complete the season theme, “But Who Am I, Really,” The Seeing Place presents one of Shakespeare’s greatest stories in a way rarely seen by NY audiences: with a sharp emphasis on text that’s understandable, presented in modern dress to deeply connect the audience to the play’s relevance today.
On a barren heath, three sisters tell the great and bloodied Macbeth that he is fated to be King of Scotland. And so begins a terrifying series of events that lead to the murder of Kings, friends, mothers and their children. Macbeth and his Lady fall prey to a soul-corroding guilt as they desperately try and cling to the defiled crown.
Running time: Under 2 hours, with no intermission
About Modern-Dress Shakespeare Productions
In Britain’s The Globe and Mail, the great Sir Alec Guinness is quoted as saying:
“There is nothing new about presenting Shakespeare in modern dress. In fact the plays were always performed in contemporary costume until about one hundred and twenty years ago…If people object to archaic language being spoken by people in contemporary clothes, I would suggest that it is really no more odd than Elizabethans speaking in iambic pentametres, which of course they never did. Modern dress will often breathe fresh air on an old play and give it a fair chance of revaluation, firmly pointing out how little the human heart changes through the centuries, and how remarkably alike we are to our forebears…”
To read the full op-ed, please click here.
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1st Row: Olev Aleksander (Banquo, Seyton), Tim Anderson (Macduff), Erin Cronican* (Lady Macbeth), Joshua George (Malcolm), 2nd Row: Jane Kahler* (Witch 1, Gentlewoman), Lisa-Marie Newton* (Witch 2, Porter, Siward), Candice Oden* (Witch 3, Lady Macduff, Caithness), Marcus Peterson (Ross), GW Reed* (Duncan/Scottish Doctor), Elizabeth Rose (Hecate, English Doctor, Menteith), 3rd Row: Sabrina Schlegel-Mejia (Young Macduff, Fleance, Young Siward), Robin Friend Stift (Angus), Ari Veach (Lennox), Brandon Walker* (Macbeth).
* = member of Actors' Equity Association
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Production Photos - Click for Slideshow
(Photos by Russ Rowland. Click here or on the photo above for comprehensive photo gallery.)
Articles about MACBETH:
The Seeing Place Stages Modern-Dress, Uncut Production of MACBETH (via Broadway World)
Shakepeare Spotlight (via Broadway World)
Erin Cronican - Intrepid Spirit (interview via Intrepid Dance Project)
Reviews for MACBETH:
Named one of the Great Theatrical Moments of 2016 by Howard Miller of Talkin' Broadway and Upstage-Downstage
TOP PICK! The Seeing Place's MACBETH was featured in Time Out NY's "Best of Off Off Broadway Theater" section published 12/12/16, selected by TONY critic Adam Feldman.
Domenick Danza, More Than The Play - "The Seeing Place Theater’s Macbeth is a compact and powerful one hundred minutes of Shakespeare. They are an “actor driven company" with a strong ensemble that is well showcased in this production. Director Brandon Walker has a clear vision and insightful understanding of this play. His bare bones, modern dress approach intensifies the choices made by the main characters and magnifies the effects their actions have on their sense of self...It is a seamless and faced paced production. Be sure to see it!"
Leslie DiLeo, Hi! Drama - "The Seeing Place’s MACBETH is a sharp, fresh and stirring production of this classic tragedy: directed with style that springs from truth and acted with centered grace all around. The performances are solid and magnetic...I cannot say enough about the quality, and originality of this production: it has brains, heart, soul and spirit. Don’t miss it!"
Howard Miller, Upstage-Downstage - "The Seeing Place's rapid-paced production of Shakespeare's Macbeth at the Paradise Factory in the East Village is a flaming roller coaster plunge that engulfs the power-grubbing pair at its center, along with anyone else who has the misfortunate of being in the path of their callous ascent or their inexorable free-fall to doom. There is a distinctly nihilistic tone to this gritty production...While keeping up the relentless pacing of the production, the company has avoided any trimming of the play, bringing it in at just under two hours without intermission...overall this is a strikingly contemporary take on "the Scottish play" that captures the mood of the country right now and proves once again that Shakespeare's voice is one to be reckoned with for all times."
Six Second Review- "Modern but timeless. Run, don't walk, to MACBETH!"
Russell Wollman via Time Out NY - "Five stars. I have never seen actors as committed and powerful as I saw in tonight's production of Macbeth at The Seeing Place. They exude integrity. It's a beautiful production that really refreshes the work. If you need some motivation, a nice solid kick in the tukus, go see them play. These guys should be rich—and they are—they're positively loaded with talent and power."
Clinton P via Time Out NY - "A very humanized Macbeth and Lady. I was surprised to find myself weeping as they struggled with coming to grips with having done the deed. A fully committed and compelling cast brings the world and drama to life. After seeing several Macbeths through the years, this is the first time it truly felt like a tragedy. A stark examination of how violence affects the violent. Beautiful! Five stars."
Eric M via Time Out NY - "Saw this show on a whim... excellent acting and direction. As someone who NEVER likes Shakespeare I was amazed at how well I understood everything! That's how you know the actors are doing their job. wonderful use of lighting and the space as well! Five stars."
Sarah E via Time Out NY - "This phenomenal interpretation of MacBeth makes the play both engaging and accessible. The cast does not miss a beat in this (literally) nonstop performance- bravo to The Seeing Place Theater for making what's old new again! Five stars."
Paul N via Time Out NY - "Hi guys, I'm the black dude with a beard and glasses, second row Saturday night. And I wanted to leave a review because I really enjoyed the play Macbeth and I wanted to share my experience. Let me tell you, the lead in Macbeth played by Brandon Walker...I immediately said to myself, what a scoundrel. Now this guy I immediately knew he was the type to slit a man's throat in his sleep. If he had his hands full of groceries, and was trying to get into my building, I'd let the door slam on him. He just came off to me as a real scumbag. And half way through the play it just dawned on me. Like a light bulb popped over my head. Maybe this guy doesn't naturally have a low sloping brow, and evil snake like eyes. Maybe he's just ACTING. And it was at that moment I realized, wow this play is really really good.
The stagecraft was genius in its simplification. Like a burlap bag with a head in it. Spoiler: there are a bunch of grisly murders. And the music playing like a soundtrack I started to notice really heightened the emotions of each scene. I came to rely upon it to cue me so I wasn't struggling so much to find understanding in the old English. Between the acting, staging, and music, it all made sense to me. Really for the first time ever. It was like I was tasting a delicacy and instead of spitting it out, I was savoring it.
And about the old English, an interesting thing happened to me. I heard about 50 or so little poetic phrases that could be on a coffee mug, or t-shirt, that were very tweetable. Stop it spell check, yes I meant to say tweetable. And I'd need to go back and read the play because the next time I want to be a total smart-ass, I want some Shakespeare to pull out of my pocket. I'd have to see the play again with a pen and notepad to catch all of the little quotables. But for example, there are a bunch of references about equivocation. And maybe it's because the word equivocation is very modern that it really stuck to my ear. Or maybe the actors really wanted the audience to hear it. But there was a joke about getting drunk to have the courage to sleep with a woman, and then while in a state of inebriation the man suffers from Whiskey "D". And the "d" stands for performance deficiency. And I think it's like a paradox but that word hadn't been invented yet. Like if your courage is based on lie then you will end up with sexual dysfunction. Wow, down a rabbit hole there. But the point is that it all made sense in real time. Like for the first time I got the joke and how it relates in a complex Freudian maze of allegory and metaphor.
So I give the play five out of five stars. And would also like to give an imaginary sixth star for the company mission statement of a $15 ticket price. And I think if compared to a movie ticket one could say why not support theater? And that is why I am writing this review because I think comparing Macbeth to the new Star Wars movie is fair game. Why? Because it is a competition between entertainment, what marketing calls eyeballs. And I can tell you as a die hard Star Wars fan if you are into epic dramas, and rebel forces, and fascist Space Lords. You will enjoy this version of Macbeth. It is set in a far off place long ago, and they speak in weird space talk like a Wookie. Yes spell check I meant Wookie. The point is that I think Brandon Walker as Macbeth was phenomenal. He was sweating profusely several times during the performance, and he didn't mind the spittle flying either. This guy was like watching a great athlete and marveling at their prowess. Or a stringed virtuoso and finding delight in their fingers.
So I challenged you to be a real New Yorker. We live to find these hidden gems right? Go see the play and be thoroughly entertained!"
Carlos Reyes via Time Out NY - "This was my second time at a Seeing Place performance and it was well worth the trip. This company always gives their all so it was surprising that the theater was not full. Everyone that can scrounge up $15 would be well served to go see The Seeing Place group perform Macbeth. Five Stars."
Tal Shamir via Facebook - "I went to see Macbeth and it was fabulous. The performances by all the cast, but in particular from Brandon Walker (Macbeth), Erin Cronican (Lady Macbeth) and Tim Anderson (Macduff) were superb. The intimacy of sitting almost on stage and being surrounded by the performances was innovative and made me feel as if I was in the middle of the action. Fantastic show with actors and directors that are extremely committed to Shakespeare and to the theater – highly recommended. Five stars."
Kevin 6070 via Show Score - "Absorbing, Edgy, Thought-provoking - See it if great acting, dynamic staging, contemporized Shakespeare, and strong ensemble work in an intimate setting are your thing. Don't see it if you prefer your Shakespeare over acted with studied wooden performances."
Christy 6100 via Show Score - "100 out of 100. Absorbing, Great acting, Intelligent, Entertaining, Great staging. See it if you you want to see a passionate group of actors with great chops. Don't see it if you need distance from the performance. It's an intimate space and the audience is acknowledged and included in the piece."
Michelle Levine via Show Score - "Ambitious, Dizzying, Masterful, Great staging - See it if you enjoy Shakespeare and a play with very complex and interesting characters."
Teresa 6209 via Show Score - "Great acting, Intelligent, Relatable - See it if you are interested in a Macbeth and Lady Macbeth whose motivations are actually understandable."
Rachel 6071 via Show Score - "Great acting, Intelligent, Masterful - See it if you love Shakespeare, and/or you like good acting without a lot of whistles and bells. It was extremely well acted--a labor of love!"
Karen 6236 via Show Score - "See it if you enjoy this Shakespearean standard in an intimate theatre facilitating understanding Elizabethan dialog and resonance with contemporaries. Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Masterful."
SamGrace via Show Score - "Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Masterful. A very well done performance; actor are very convincing, especially the leads; makes great use of a small space. Enchanting, Great acting, Refreshing, Entertaining."
Cecaelia via Show Score - "Ambitious, Thought-provoking, Intriguing. See it if you like alternative takes on Shakespearean characters and motivations, or productions that highlight the folk-magic aspects of his work."
Rene Grayre via Show Score - "Ambitious, Inventive, Fine acting, Great staging & direction - See it if you'd appreciate an up close, modern & wonderfully staged and realized production of the Scottish Play, with fine if uneven performances. Don't see it if you need period costumes, sets & prosceniums, don't like actors too close to you or like your Shakespeare with needless British accents. Also... Remarkably well staged & directed by its founders, The Seeing Place Theater's Macbeth Is proof of how much can be accomplished with little more than bodies, light & space, in this case a very intimate space which never feels tight. With gorgeous lighting by Duane Pagano that helps propel the action, great design & even signage, it's the essence of how theatre can transport and engage. There's even something of Grotowski's Poor Theatre here; not the intense physicality, but in the attempt of stripping away all surface to truth."
CJR via Facebook - "If you can't get tickets to see OTHELLO with Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo, just across E 4th Street for a fraction of the price ($15) is the terrific Seeing Place production of MACBETH starring Brandon Walker and Erin Cronican. Stripped down and powerful, shows exactly what a small theater company can do."
Ryan Shuler via Facebook - "The other night I went to see The Seeing Place Theater's production of Macbeth with Anastasia Ignatova and absolutely loved it. What they've accomplished is something truly extraordinary, and I encourage everyone to see it before it closes! Shows run until the 22nd. You'll be supporting my good friend Ari Veach, the other talented artists involved, and the independent theater scene right here in New York!"
Jeff Gaster, via Facebook - "They say it's not the prime season for theater--but what more perfect time to come experience what a driven, expressive, empathetic--and well-established company can do. In their new space on East 4th Street--home to some of the finest small theaters in this and the last century--The Seeing Place Theater brings new life to a favorite Shakespeare classic Macbeth. This fast-paced version is a mix of the traditional script set in an amorphous time--part when the actual events on which the play is based (circa 1600), part current era. At times, we feel like we're in Elizabethan Scotland, at times in a modern setting. But, it all works and flows together smoothly--for this is a timeless tale with profound concepts of morality that applied to the battles of power and politics of that time as much as today's. When budgets are tight--as they are now--theatergoers would be well advised to spend less and experience much more in the intimate setting of this theater company with a mission."
Elinor Nauen, via Blog - "Saw a riveting and fast-moving (110 minutes!) Macbeth last night, at a small theater right around the corner on 4th St. Tyranny. Ambition. The parallels to today are clear. How did England survive all these centuries with rulers like that? Do monarchies survive when republics don't, thanks to a loyalty people feel to a king or queen that they don't to an institution or even a way of life? Would there be an England without the queen? I guess royalty is an institution but it's wrapped in a feeling."
And... here is some feedback from the patrons from one of the low-income communities we donate to:
"When I awoke the morning after the show, I was still thinking about it. I've never been moved so deeply by a piece of theater—and I mean moved in my gut, in my entire body. I almost can't explain it except to say that the power of the players, every one of them, penetrated me from head to toe. If you think you know what commitment is, see this show at The Seeing Place."
"Excellent cast, very good performance, innovative interpretation, inspiring play."
"The show was excellent, the actors were able to portray the characters realistically, and because of the seating arrangement of the theater you feel like you are a part of the show. I would definitely recommend this show to anyone who enjoys theater."
"The show was wonderful, captivating and well crafted. The setting, atmosphere and characters were very much in line with the show's historical meaning. I would absolutely recommend the show to friends and family."
"A great, dynamic, dedicated cast. The presentation was innovative and yet very thought-provoking. It was modern enough to highlight the timeless value and relevance of Shakespeare's drama, and traditional enough to immerse the audience into the raw and poignant ethical tribulations of the period. We are still debating the issues touched upon by that play."
"Enjoyed the cast and creativity. Play was well done."
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