The Seattle Rep's new adaptation of MAC BETH by Erica Schmidt is an updated version of the classic tragedy. And let's just say - this is not your grandma's Shakespeare!
"I don't want to give too much away but I do say we push some boundaries in this show in a good way, yeah, well it might be shocking to some people." Actress Charlotte Schweiger plays the title role in this 'play within a play.'
"Well, first of all, we are getting it though this brand-new perspective-- the entire cast are young girls my age so it's a sort of fresh new voice into Shakespeare, especially hearing these classical words and classical text coming out of these tiny girls (some of us) it's really crazy," Schweiger explained.
Having an all-female cast is just the start.
"Oh my character well-- essentially we have a girl playing MacBeth. It's two characters and she is kind of thrust into this world of Macbeth, but she is very fearless. I found it easily relatable too. Especially through the eye of a teenage girl. He's insecure, he lashes out, he doesn't know how to get what he wants and I think those are themes that really resonate with the whole girl that I am also playing," said the actress.
Forget about ancient Scottish castles this adaptation is set in current times, with modern issues.
"I think that is one of the big themes we tried to illuminate in this production is girl on girl bullying and violence in this sort of… weird relationships that girls can have that don't really get highlighted as much you know. We can be mean… we can be real mean and real physically violent with each other," Schweiger said.
Violence plays an important role in this work. Lorenzo Pisoni choreographed the movement for the actors.
"What we tried to do as a group was I showed up and said 'hi' and started to just kinda see how the actors, you know, interacted physically with one another. They were all super brave and jumped right in and there are two levels…there is this in the play acting of you know…because they are students that are putting on MacBeth there is the actual violence that happens at different points of the play… just figuring out how they wanted to do this and it seems to be they had a good time I think," said Pisoni.
We asked the duo to give us a demo of how the fight scenes work.
"So essentially we are doing a classic hair grab here…classic…so I grab the back and I take it…I'm not actually grabbing anything I'm just…he's doing all the work here," Schweiger explained.
"She's so mean," Pisoni said with a smile.
The original play may have been written hundreds of years ago, but these two think, Shakespeare would approve of this new take on Macbeth.
"I mean I'm sure some people might have some issues with girls in all these parts but then again Shakespeare has such a rich tradition of being changed and meddled with and reinterpreted and meddled with that in some way you are honoring the text more by updating it and adapting," Schweiger said grinning.
From Seattle Rep: In playwright/director Erica Schmidt’s innovative adaptation, seven young women gather after school to re-tell the story of Macbeth, Shakespeare’s epic tragedy about the corrosive effects of ambition Witches, ghosts, and prophecies drive this dark tale of a Scottish general who believes he is destined to be King of Scotland. And as the girls immerse themselves further and further in this infamous tragedy, the line between real life and bloody fantasy becomes increasingly blurred.