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Fall production of Macbeth takes place over Zoom

Students create at home stage setups. Courtesy of Zoe ’22

The production of “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” which ran from Nov. 12th to 14th, was unlike other renditions of the show because it was via Zoom. Additionally, the play incorporated aspects of the 1920s and mirrored the pandemic and political climate of today.

Due to virtual school, the fall production took place live on Zoom with some pre-recorded clips throughout. The Upper School class Design Collaborative, taught by Technical Director Amelia Charter, designed the set for the production by sending home lighting, backdrops, and other supplies.

“Everyone worked out of their bedroom, so there were 23 people in the cast we were designing little miniature stages for,” Charter said. “We compiled and put together what we’re calling tech take-home kits.”

“Macbeth” was directed by Technical Director Michael Fountain and Performing Arts Instructor Kristi Schultz, both of whom led Zoom rehearsals since the third week of school. Schultz said that group scenes were a challenge to direct as well as stage direction. Simple things, such as actors facing towards each other, become complicated. Despite these challenges, Zoe ’22, who played Lady Macduff and Murderer Two, thinks the online process added to the show.

“[Zoom] I think made the show more interesting because it has a new spin on it, like no one else has ever done, which is hard to achieve with Shakespeare,” Zoe said.

Additionally, “Macbeth” had a social vision. With political tensions arising from COVID-19 and developments in our community like Dear Marlborough, “Macbeth” aimed to reference our times and those before it. The play was originally written in an era where cultural conflict and the plague was widespread, as well as the play itself dealing with political and social issues. In parallel ways, the directing team for Marlborough’s “Macbeth” commented on how in 2020 the world is experiencing a pandemic, along with social tensions ranging from the rise of white supremacy in America to economic crises. “Macbeth” aimed to solidify these parallels through the use of 1920s costumes, music, and dance.

“There’s no fixed reality in Shakespeare plays, and what’s great about that is you can set them anywhere or anywhen,” Fountain said.