Is it by choice, is it master manipulation, or is it fate? What brought upon Macbeth’s inevitable downfall?
“He brings it upon himself, he should have said no.”
“It might just happen anyway”
“Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under’t." - Lady Macbeth
Flowertown Players’ Underground series takes audiences to new heights in Shakespeare’s’ renowned classic Macbeth. Known as the cursed play with a name not allowed to be spoken in a theatre, Macbeth tests how far someone will go for the crown. Taking Flowertown Player’s stage with vengeance June 15 - 24, Macbeth asks audiences “what would you kill for?”
As Macbeth takes power after his prophecy to be King is foretold, guilt and paranoia riddle his brain from his murderous rise to the throne. Director, Erik Brower reimagines Shakespeare's tragic and gritty character as an anti-hero, similarly to that of The Green Arrow and others with an affinity for narcissism. Actor Michael Leaser (Macbeth) compares his character to that of the House of Cards’ protagonist Frank Underwood, “and his wife is like Lady Macbeth,” says Leaser. Brower agrees and adds “Walter White, someone who has a really really good thing happen to them and gets into it with good intentions and kind of gets drunk off his own power and loses everything” Continuing on in his quest to create a dark, suspenseful, and intimidate show, Brower comments that, “I’m a big comic book nerd and I got the image of a gritty Frank Miller style setting while reading it.” His approach reminds Leaser of his first R rated movie, The Untouchables about Al Capone.
Even as an anti-hero, should we route for Macbeth? “I don’t think we should be routing for Macbeth, it should scare us,” says Adam Weiner (Banquo). Jensen Schauffer (Lady Macbeth) has a different outlook stating, “I feel like he got caught up in something that became bigger than himself…I think she forces him to do it. I don’t know how he would have gotten out of killing the King once she decided it was going to happen. If he hadn’t done it she would have.” Macbeth was uncertain before the deed and certainly afterwards but continues on a rampage of destruction. Leaser’s challenge now is to play a devious character that you may feel an ounce of sympathy for. “Anytime you are playing a villain you have to play that villain as if they believe that they’re right. You have to be a real person or else they just become a cartoon character. We have sit there and say, ‘Oh my, this is a terrible situation that’s happening to Macbeth but who am I to say I won’t do anything different in his situation.’ It has to be honest, it has to be real, and it has to be sympathetic so that you feel torn at the end,” says Schaffer.
The dark nature of Macbeth’s spiral into madness may appear on stage but the cast and crew have plenty of laughs. “This has been one of my favorite cast I’ve ever worked with. We always have fun,” commented Sarah Daniel who plays the second Witch. She also gets to kill her own son on stage which is of course a running joke within the cast. “I like the process, seeing all these players building something together. I like that part of the process, seeing it grow into something really cool,” says Leaser.
Watch as the madness takes hold in this modern noir adaptation of Macbeth now playing at Flowertown Players, 133 S. Main St. Summerville, SC 29483. Tickets are only $12. Buy your ticket now at www.flowertownplayers.org, over the phone at 843-875-9251 or in person at our box office.