28 July 2023
This was a most imaginative production of Macbeth, a tragedy originally written by William Shakespeare, possibly first produced in 1606. The timeline was updated by some 500 years in this version staged by Arturo Wong Sagel. Quadcopter, anyone?
The story shows a lust for power can have physical and mental effects that end in madness. In this production, set in a dystopian future, references are made to local controversies and the political machinations of certain leaders, ones you may have read about in the news. Names were named. The audience loved it, laughing loudly.
Macbeth, played by Andres Morales, runs a water company in a country where water is scarce. He, urged on by his wife, played by Stella Lauri, uses unscrupulous means to destroy his competitor, The Duncan Corporation, so he can control the entire water supply. The set itself is a stylized water tower. Witches dance and drunken clowns laugh as they complicate and further the plot.
The set, props, and costumes, painted in basic colors, allow colored stage lights to change the atmosphere. Lengths of fabric are used to illustrate moods and emotions. At the end of Lady Macbeth´s madness scene, dancers draped red fabrics over her white robes. Smaller pieces of red fabric indicate blood during the murder scene. Well done.
The cast of 12 play their roles flawlessly, ranging from high energy action, to freezing in place in various scenes. One actor climbs a net, another walks on stilts, the dancers´ motions are expressive. They use the entire stage plus the 2 lower box-seat areas closest to the stage, where the quadcopter appears. The audience´s attention is turned in one direction and then another. The musician, onstage the entire time, is tucked unobtrusively under the balcony on stage right. Impressive creativity.
The curtain closed only during the 15 minute intermission, all set adjustments were done in full sight of audience by stagehands dressed in black or by the performers themselves.
This was no cookie-cutter production. It was performed at the beautiful, historic National Theater during the last 4 days of July 2023.
The appreciative audience cheered loudly and applauded the performers at curtain call.
A great show. The theater scene is lively here in Panama and comes with our own cultural twist.