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Macbeth: Marlborough’s second virtual theatre production from the perspective of the Middle School

With the resounding success of Marlborough’s first virtual production, “Tuck Everlasting”, The Marlborough Performing Arts Department decided to put on yet another virtual production! On Thursday, Nov. 12 through Saturday, Nov. 14, upper and lower school students performed the show “Macbeth” live over zoom, with some parts that were pre-recorded.

With the production came many discoveries in innovation and design advancements. In order to create a stage-like atmosphere, each student received a backdrop, a reading light, and an LED light. When asked, students unanimously agreed that the backdrop and lighting helped to bring the show together.

“I know it seems silly, but once everyone had a more consistent background, it made it [the show] seem like we were all in one space, and then it felt like we were more united as a cast,” Iara ‘25 said.

Despite the technological advances and innovative techniques utilized in this production, there was one major setback amongst other minor dilemmas that made this play ultimately challenging to produce and perform in. Technical issues were a ubiquitous problem that became apparent from the very beginning of the rehearsal process. These tech problems mainly presented themselves in the fight scenes and dance scenes, both of which proved to be extremely difficult to execute.

“With anything that requires very specific timing such as a scene where two characters have to fight at the same time, it’s a little bit different than dialogue, where you’re trying to be as on-top of each other as possible to create that liveliness. But it doesn’t require your sword hitting the other person’s sword through the Zoom box at the exact same time,” Natalie ‘24 said.

However, these hardships led the cast to find new discoveries in live theatre through the medium of Zoom. The cast found new ways of acting and portraying a role by utilizing the positive aspects of performing live over Zoom. One of the main skills the cast learned was staying in character and keeping that energy alive.

“In an in-person live show, the audience is so far away, that if you make a bleak facial expression, no one is going to see it. But when the cameras are in front of you, you have to always make sure your face is present and you always have to make sure you’re constantly present in the scene,” Ellie ‘26 said.

Furthermore, the feeling of an ensemble was another positive aspect of the show. With everyone miles away, the feeling of the ensemble would not be the same. However, the cast still had a positive experience with the ensemble and connecting with one another. 

“For ‘Macbeth’, the ensemble has been much more together as a group due to the fact that it is a live show; and because ‘Tuck Everlasting’ was a radio play, you were really only with the people who were in your scene,” Iara ‘25 said.

While the development of “Macbeth” was far more than challenging, the cast persevered, and in doing so, they found many helpful takeaways that gave them new knowledge to use in future experiences.