Praying to the Gods to unsex her is one of the more recognizable monologues attributed to the character in the play, which Demarest does with a fiery intensity. What she also does is follows through with this point to the end in her vulnerably exposed decline of the character. Despite Lady Macbeths demands, wishes, and prayers, the gods fail to deliver and leave her a woman. Demarest exposes this feminine fault at perfectly punctuated moments throughout the performance, deteriorating before the eyes of the audience in a demure fashion. This furthers the irony of the overall concept of the show for as she is brought out of darkness, the world she has always known, the knowledge of light destroys her very being.
Engel played the wounded soldier, while actor Alan Duda had five lines toward the end. Almost 15 years later, Duda and Demarest — off-stage partners — take up the leads of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The intimacy and relationships between the three, along with the other members of the Rude Mechanicals, add an extra dimension to the play.
Inside-Out and Outside-In: Landscape and the Unnatural …
The title character was played gracefully by Alan Duda. His performance combined power with subtlety in a way that uniquely made Engels version of Macbeth more of an Everyman than a hallowed war hero on a path to destruction.Creatively, Engel centered the production around the motif of darkness leading to ignorance and superstition. His decision to blindfold Lady Macbeth for the entirety of the show was a smart way of showing her comfort with darkness and the unknown. As the show progressed, the blindfold gradually appears to become a part of her, almost as if it would be strange to see her without it.Jaki Demarest did a wonderful job of embracing the darkness in her portrayal of Lady Macbeth. She was incredibly comfortable in her own skin and made great active choices in interpreting the physicality of the character. Her energy never lagged and despite not being able to see her surroundings, she maintained great chemistry with Duda.Marlow Vilchez gave a well-rounded performance as Banquo. He intonated well and played the character with a remarkable sense of balance. One thing actors must always develop within their character is a strong sense of time and place. Out of every character in the show, Vilchez had the best sense of his relationship to other characters.The trio of Ross, Malcolm, and Macduff, acted respectively by Holly Trout, Evan Ockershausen, and Michael C. Robinson, played well off each other, particularly in their efforts to vanquish Macbeth toward the end of the show. Though only on stage for a short time, Sam David as Lady Macduff gave a heartfelt performance with a level of nuance usually reserved for films. Another character whose time on stage was short-lived was Duncan, played by Michael McCarthy, and McCarthy took full advantage of every minute he was on stage.Another group that worked well together was the trio of Rebecca Speas, Diane Samuelson, and Lauren Beward as the witches. The three were not afraid to experiment with varying vocal and physical levels. They used every corner of the stage and moved with purpose, exuding evil with every step.One of the highlights of the show was Melissa Schick breaking the fourth wall as the Porter. She singled out three members of the audience from each side of the black box to interact as candidates for admission into Hell. Her scene incorporated an element of well-timed crude humor almost reminiscent of Scapino from the Commedia dellarteera of Italian theatre.The technical elements of the show were effective as well. In a small black box setting, the fog from the witches scenes permeated the audience, making one feel a part of the darkness that Engel was aiming for. To contrast with the darkness, Lighting Designer Irene Sitoski created a bright white silhouette of the dagger that Macbeth longs to clutch, but then fades. Sitoski also was responsible for the hints of purple and blue light during most of the dialogue, which fits nicely with the theme of darkness.Sound Designer Eric Honour did a good job of making the background sound creepy, but not overbearing. The set itself was no more than a throne at upstage center, but for the purpose of a black box, it worked.The costumes, designed by Moira Parham and Trevor Jones, gave the show a sense of neutrality in terms of time depiction. The show couldve been set in the 1600s or the 1900s depending on your worldview. The climatic fight scene at the end, as choreographed by Erin McDonald, was entertaining and well-blocked.Running Time: 75 minutes, with no intermission.by , DC Metro Theatre Arts
Jaki Demarest as Lady Macbeth in the Sleepwalking Scene (Act V Scene I) in at The Rude Mechanicals