Something Wicked this Way Comes: Macbeth at Williston
by Brendan Hellweg ’14
Upon entering the Williston Theater it is nearly impossible not to notice the gorgeous set: it is both on the stage and above the audience, ropes hung from the catwalks above the audience. A primarily minimalistic set, the ropes are the only part that is not full black or stone colored and represent the “strings of fate” that the witches seem to weave for Macbeth.
The beautiful set is only one of several jobs Charles Raffetto was responsible for. He has burnt the candle at both ends: directing, stage managing, set designing, and casting for the play all at once. Even one of these jobs is enough to make someone want to complain about their “unfair” responsibilities, so when I heard that he had taken on all of these jobs, I worried that this huge burden might be too much, but Mr. Raffetto exceeded all my expectations and cast away any doubts with the powerful production of Macbeth he put on. Under this incredible pressure he managed to shine and create something worth giving two hours of my life for.
It’s an extremely dark, somber play. No true happy ending exists besides the death of the protagonist, and even the story of the “conquering” Macduff, played by Timi Onafowakan, ended in sorrow, his entire family brutally murdered. Besides the humorous monologue by a drunken porter, played by my friend, Henry Lombino, which was a rather dirty, lecherous shining light in the otherwise depressing play, there were nearly no parts that didn’t make you want to cringe at how cruel people could be or gape at the depths of guilt murder bestows on a man.
The acting was excellent, although at points I could not understand what certain people were saying, and not everyone thought that the “no flash photography” rule was anything more than the vaguest of guidelines, as evidenced by the woman who happened to sit near me when I went to the play. Kiernan Zehring plays an excellent Macbeth, his breastplate being far too large for him to highlight how he was not really an extraordinary man but one who thrust himself into the most extraordinary and depraved of circumstances. His cutthroat dagger evidenced this: it was nothing in comparison to his soon to be killers’ swords. He acted with skill and vicious anger: an excellent way of showing a lowly thane whose level of power was not earned in any means and simply stolen from those who deserved it.
The one part of it that I did not enjoy by any means was the fight scenes, which were given surprisingly little attention for such a large part of the play. The actors looked like twelve year olds playing with sticks, not warriors fighting for their lives! I couldn’t imagine how these sections were given so little thought.
However, these almost laughable moments were more than balanced out by the excellent acting, tasteful costumes, and beautiful set design. I hope that this show was seen and appreciated by many, and that everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did. It earned the attention the audience gave it and was absolutely worth an evening at the theater.
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