By Erin Crowell
Macbeth -- the psychological story of murder, power and a royal
couples downward spiral is William Shakespeares most infamous
tragedy, aside from the star-crossed lovers of Romeo & Juliet.
Interlochen Art Centers professional theatrea 32-person ensemble of
faculty, staff and alumnipresents Macbeth as the third installment of
the its annual Shakespeare Festival, July 1-11.
The first two productions included the lighthearted comedies Twelfth
Night and The Taming of the Shrew. This season, the arts center goes
We chose Macbeth as our first tragedy, to break out of the comedy
mode, says director and Shakespeare Festival creator William Church.
I think its the most accessible to audiences. Its scary, sexy and
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
What makes this production of Macbeth different from others?
We have personalized this play. We made Macbeth a real person, says
James Francis Ginty, who plays the title role.
Ginty, who graduated from Interlochen in 1999, currently lives in Los
Angeles. He is credited with acting roles in films such as K-19: The
Widowmaker and Surrogates, along with appearances on television
shows Greys Anatomy and Days of Our Lives.
For me, the excitement is the audiences ability to experience what
Macbeth is feeling. You can really read his thoughts, says Church.
A major contribution to the plays intimacy comes from the venue.
Performed in Harvey Theater, on the Interlochen campus, Macbeth will
take place on a three-quarters thrust stage, with the audience
situated on three of the four sides.
This sort of proximity and intimacy really helps for this type of
production, says Church. For the set, itself, were collaborating
with sculptor Bill Allen.
TORMENT & TENDERNESS
Allena local artist whose work has been featured at several venues,
including the Dennos Museum Center and the Michigan Legacy Art Parkis
known for his latest abstract and dark figures.
I checked out his work and I was struck by how tormented, frightening
and disturbing the sculptures are, says Church. It really felt like
Allen has worked on several artistic collaborations; including his
work with poet Fleda Brown in the spring exhibit ConTexTure, at the
Dennos Museum Center.
I enjoy using my art, explains Allen. I feel it expands the meaning
of my work.
The sculptures exude the torment that Shakespeares main character
experiences throughout the play; but, this production of Macbeth is
more than just double, double toil and trouble.
Weve infused a sense of tenderness, says Ginty, between my
character and Lady Macbeth, (played by alumna Caitlin
Ginty says Macbeth isnt about a guy whos crazy, but rather a man who falls.
One of the challenges for Ginty was telling his agent that he would
disappear into the Northern Michigan woods for several weeks.
Theatre doesnt pay the, uh, premiums that film and television do,
he explains. My agent asked me, Why would you want to go to the
middle of nowhere for practically no money?
I said, this is where I went to school.
His response was, Great, give a lecture, Ginty laughs.
Church says all the alumni have been fully supportive of the production.
Theres a lot of talent here, says Church. Its a way to celebrate
Interlochens theater alumni. It also gives our faculty and staff a
way to keep up on their art.
Church and Ginty believe everyone will be able to relate to the play
whether its thrilling sword fights or the romanticism of the
Its a great first-time Shakespeare experience, says Ginty. We want
people to leave this play saying, Man, I really want that Shakespeare
guy to become a part of my life.
The Third Annual Shakespeare Festival is happening now, July 1-11, at
Interlochens Harvey Theater. Tickets are $26 and are available at
tickets.interlochen.org or by calling the box office at 800-681-5920.
But, hurry theyre going fast.