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Macbeth (The Queens Players)

nytheatre.com q&a preview by Alberto Bonilla
June 28, 2013

What is your job on this show?
Director / Fight Choreographer.

What is your show about?
William Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, envisioned through the lens of a druidic world of myth, magic, and warriors takes audiences through a whirlwind exploration of the dark, Celtic, and supernatural forces that cut right to the raw heart of Shakespeare’s classic tale.

Are there boundaries as to what kind of theatre you will take part in?
I am actually interested in pushing the envelope, but not for shock value. Creating blood, or violence or nudity on stage has no value to me unless it’s truly enlightening the story and the experience for the audience in an artistic and theatrical manner. Some shows use spectacle, violence, explicit language, and nudity to create a buzz or shock their audiences or get press. That is the Type of boundary I will not cross. If something on stage does not truly create a valid experience for the audience and furthers the story then it has no place being on stage. I mean ANYTHING, from a stage slap to a full broadsword fight. So a boundary I have set for my self is to not sell short the story.

Why do you do theater (as opposed to film, or TV, or something not in the entertainment field)?
I love theater because it is a gift that is shared in a moment that can never be recreated. I love film for the opposite reason. But theater has its own magic. Its like when you tell a friend an amazing story. If it was an awesome experience usually the person is left thinking, “god I wish I had seen it”. Theater is a very personal gift that is given to the audience that night. Its a tradition since before man even had words. When it is done in a filled, artistic, emotional and theatrical way… it almost can’t be described in words. The audience must experience it. Also there is a unity and bond that is created with a cast I find lacks in film. On a film you may work one day or 3 months with hundreds of people. But theater is a small family. I love my cast for Macbeth. They are so talented and have taken on a challenge with this production. I have our King (Jim Anderson) holding a military style MMA/300/Gladiator workout every rehearsal for 30 min prior to even starting rehearsal. I wanted my actors to not only be in AMAZING physical strength for broadswords but to move and be visceral. From day one we all bonded (I do the workouts as well) because of the passion my cast has for this play. My vision of a visceral, druid, Celtic war weathered Macbeth is only possible because I am blessed to work with an ensemble that is willing to go further then most. Also there is a unity and bond that is created with a cast I find lacks in film. On a film you may work one day or 3 months with hundreds of people. But theater is a small family. I love my cast for Macbeth. They are so talented and have taken on a challenge with this production. I have our King (Jim Anderson) holding a military style MMA/300/Gladiator workout every rehearsal for 30 min prior to even starting rehearsal. I wanted my actors to not only be in AMAZING physical strength for broadswords but to move and be visceral. From day one we all bonded (I do the workouts as well) because of the passion my cast has for this play. My vision of a visceral, druid, Celtic war weathered Macbeth is only possible because I am blessed to work with an ensemble that is willing to go further then most.

Are there any cautions or warnings you’d like to make about the show (e.g., not appropriate for little kids)?
I have not pulled my punches with the themes of evil, violence, sex or ambition. The death of Lady Mc Duff is brutal but poetic. I would call it a death ballet. The broadswords fights are furious and all the seats in the theater will put the audience in the lap of the action. While there is no nudity the sexual content is there. I wanted to create a Macbeth that is simply “man vs. fate” “good vs. evil”. I didn’t want to set it with camouflage pants or with suits on Wall Street etc. This is Celtic witches’ incantations’, Deaths, battles, and 90 min of action and drama.

Which “S” word best describes your show: SMOOTH, SEXY, SMART, SURPRISING?
SEXY- my cast is not only beautiful and in shape, they fight like professional fighters. My mentor used to say you choreograph a love scene like a fight and a fight like a love scene.

If you had ten million dollars that you had to spend on theatrical endeavors, how would you use the money?
The first thing I would do… go back and pay what the artists I have worked with in the past were worth. I am only directing because of the efforts of artists who believed in my vision to do it for 2 cents, a pat on the back and a coffee. Sometimes not even the 2 cents! After that I would gather my army of artists and tackle subjects commercial Broadway is too scared to tackle cause of the investors. No… I would bring the social questions to the forefront of the audience. I don’t need to give the answers but I would make plays that would have the audience walk out questioning, feeling, talking… maybe even changing.