The Hudson Shakespeare Company returns this weekend with the third and final installment of the 22nd Annual Shakespeare summer series with a new twist on a old favorite – William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” directed by Noelle Fair.
The show was slated to be presented at the Historic Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery on Saturday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. as a fundraiser for the cemetery upkeep. There is a $10 suggested donation and concession on site.
Director Noelle Fair creates a new movement and music based adaptation on the familiar story of a dutiful general and nobleman Macbeth (David C. Neal) and his ambitious wife Lady Macbeth (Rachel Alt), who sell their souls and conscience to darker forces to become the king and queen of Scotland.
This production is given a new twist incorporating the gothic style known as “Steampunk.” This fashion and comic-con staple combines styles of English Victorian dress with sci-fi tropes of gears, machinery and technology, adding to the play’s already dark and Halloween-like elements.
Black and red palettes, phantasmagorical music, and disjointed imagery dominate the scene as murder plots are hatched and executed with mounting regularity and tension, egged on by three mysterious women simple known as “the weyardsisters” (Emily Dalton, Siobahn O’Loughlin and Lisa LaGrande). Are they human women casting spells or something more otherwordly?
Written in 1605-1606, Shakespeare loosely based a story of a historical 11th century nobleman’s rise to the Scottish throne with a commentary on the contemporary political scene. James I, king of Scotland, had recently succeeded Queen Elizabeth, but in 1605 an assassination plot was discovered that would have, literally, blown up him and his entire parliament. Known as the “Gunpowder Plot,” the conspirators became known as “equivocators,” saying one thing or doing another.
However, scandal followed the arrests as people charged that members of James’ own government had put them up to it. Whatever the truth of the plot, Shakespeare weaves a story tailor made for the new king as a warning against such two-faced people and also as a way to pander to King James’ taste in the subject of witches.
With the unsettling, equivocal atmosphere and subject matter, “Macbeth” remains one of Shakespeare’s most popular, studied, and produced works.
Hudson Shakespeare Company is now in its 22nd season of traveling theatre, touring to various parks, classrooms and other unique venues through North Jersey.
The Historic Jersey City & Harsimus Cemetery is a National Treasure. Prior to the creation of the cemetery in 1829, it’s historical significance dates back to the 1700s as the site of Revolutionary War skirmishes, and an active ammunition bunker during the War of 1812 that still stands proudly on the grounds. Now the sacred eternal resting place of thousands of soldiers from the Revolutionary & Civil Wars, the War of 1812, the Spanish-American War, WWI and II forward, as well as home to the earliest Jersey City founders, leaders, residents and legends. With its 200-year-old English Ivy
adorning many of the towering trees, and the monumental works of art, this
6-acre sanctuary of peace and unique history is one of the most beautiful
natural settings in Jersey City.
Patrons are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket. In case of rain,
the show will be held under a tent on site. For more information,
call (908) 771-8683 or visit hudsonshakespeare.homestead.com.