Aquila Theatre (Peter Meineck, Artistic Director) will present the New York Premiere of their production of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, designed and directed by Desiree Sanchez featuring Rachael Barrington (Lady Macduff/Rosse/Servant), Janet Dunson (Witch 3/Ensemble), Peter F. Gardiner (Banquo/Captain/Cathness/Porter/Messenger/Murderer 2) James Hogg (Banquo/Captain/Porter/Messenger/Murderer 2/Doctor), James Lavender (Macduff /Duncan/Murderer 1), Alexandra Milne (Witch/Ensemble), Guy Oliver-Watts (Macbeth), Rebecca Reaney (Lady Macbeth/Boy) and Mary Werntz (Witch/Ensemble), opening Wednesday, April 25th. This limited engagement continues through May 6th only.
Performances are Wednesday, Thursdays and Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, Friday evenings at 8pm, and Sunday matinees at 2pm. All performances will be at the Gym at Judson (243 Thompson Street at Washington Square South). For tickets, visit www.aquilatheatre.com or call 212/868-4444. For more information, visit www.aquilatheatre.com.
Aquila's Macbeth is descrbied as "a tension-filled, sexually charged, and visceral production that places Shakespeare's language at its core. Performed by a cast of American and British actors with extensive credits with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal National Theatre, West End, major regional, London and New York theatre, this superb cast brings Shakespeare's intoxicating language to vivid life."
The acting ensemble for Aquila's Macbeth is distinguished by the fact that they have been living and working together on this production for nearly a year. Moreover the cast includes several members who have worked with Aquila before, creating continuity with the 21-year history of the company. The Macbeth ensemble rehearsed in Nafplion, Greece and have since performed together in more than fifty venues, ranging from 200 to 2000 seats, for diverse audiences across the country. This has given the Aquila company the opportunity to explore Macbeth deeply while becoming an uniquely strong ensemble – a rarity in today's theatre world, but almost identical to the way in which Shakespeare's actors worked.
Desiree Sanchez brings a fresh approach to Shakespeare, with a strikingly sensual visual sensibility and rigorous attention to intricate details honed in a distinguished career as both a classical (Boston Ballet, The Metropolitan Opera) and modern (Complexions, Bill T Jones, Neo Labos, Shawn Curren, Doug Varone and Donald Bryd) dancer. Hailing from a Nuyorican family and growing up in Connecticut gave her a distinct perspective on the role of the arts in America and the importance of classical works to diverse cultural groups. She believes in Shakespeare's power to transcend cultural boundaries and to bring people together to experience art as an important part of their lives – that performing Macbeth is a truly democratic and communal undertaking.
Ms. Sanchez's production of Macbeth focuses on the intense relationships between the protagonists and the external forces that drive them to step beyond moral and societal bounds. She explains "I've distilled this production of Macbeth to its essence. I wanted it to be about the people, their lives, and what drives them to do what they do. There are no stars here – each ensemble member, just like each role, is an essential part of a unified whole. Sensitivity to each other's physical energy and sense of time reveals so much about each character and how they feel about each other in ways words can't do alone. Theatre cannot compel unless words work in harmony with action. Theatre means 'seeing place' and cognitive studies have demonstrated how the mind favors the visual over the auditory. The body doesn't lie. I want them to vibe off each other like dancers vibe off each in a modern dance piece, or a pas de deux. I want them to need each other. The ensemble is everything for us at Aquila. This creates an energy on stage that is electric – that pulls a viewer in and makes them feel they are witnessing something real. Gelsey Kirkland (famed ballerina with New York City Ballet and Baryshnikov) once told me to pay attention to my glissade. I didn't understand at first, as it was a simple connection step to my big grand jeté – a simple prep step to the one I thought everyone was waiting to see. She said, if you throw away the connection step you diminish the grand jeté. The audience sees both. I try to pass that kind of truth to my actors. I tell them they must be aware of the moments between. Watching how an actor receives info, even if she is on the periphery of a scene, can be just as interesting as when she responds."