“A dark prophecy triggers the rise and fall of an ambitious couple whose wayward moral compass takes them in a deadly direction… What happens when we subvert the natural order of things? Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill. So pr’ythee, come with us.”
William Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth takes on new meaning with Macbeth + Macdeath: A Coda, directed by Petra Kalive, Artistic Director of Union House Theatre.
Having worked previously with Melbourne Theatre Company, Sydney Theatre Company and Red Stitch, Kalive is no stranger to “telling stories and staging theatre that helps understand the social and political realities of today”.
Why Macbeth? In addition to the strong female presence in the play, Kalive was drawn to directing Macbeth because of its timeless theme of ambition. “It speaks to the invisible, unfathomable circumstances that make us do things that we never thought ourselves capable.” Its “narrative is tight and the play spirals in on itself until it tragically unravels”, Kalive said.
Kalive warns audiences should not expect tradition but “a fresh perspective to a very well known story” with an entire student cast and live sound throughout. Kalive’s Macbeth will bring a performance that is “stripped back and ensemble based”. It is not set anywhere in particular, making its message even the more universal.
Amongst the student cast is Sian Lewis playing Lady Macduff, a character that traditionally has a small part in the play. In this production however, “everyone is important”, and her marriage to Lord Macduff (the Thane of Fife) who is played by a female, adds a modern twist to the play.
Working with Union House Theatre “has been an incredibly valuable experience, as there are so many people with a variety of backgrounds, skills and knowledge” said Lewis.
Lewis says that this production of Macbeth is “fast-paced and unforgiving. And with the addition of Jean Tong’s coda Macdeath, expect to see Shakespeare in a whole new light”. She adds that audiences should still expect “lots of blood and the exciting world of the supernatural”.
Kalive hopes that by the end of this spiralling 90-minute production audiences will be left to “to fill in the gaps” and to question, “why we continue to tell the stories that we tell”.