Thursday, November 03, 2005

Fair Enough

The review on Macbeth is up on the Daily Iowan.Out Out - See Spot run

A couple of nitpicks:

Don't be misled by the Moongarden Acting Company's unusual stage in the Johnson County Fairgrounds. Though the performance space mystifies one with its slanted barn roof, glitzy blue lighting, and location on the outskirts of Iowa City, many of its actors are familiar faces from Dreamwell Theatre in Iowa City and City Circle in Coralville.

FYI: that barn is home to Iowa City Community Theatre, the oldest acting company in the area.

Moongarden plays Macbeth without any off-the-wall directorial decisions, but the end product runs about two hours, and therefore is an abbreviated, less-epic version of the traditional production.

Um, we didn't really cut it much. The play itself is short:
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's shortest plays, and some scholars have suggested that scenes were excised from the Folio version and lost - ­that the play we know as Macbeth is only part of the original. There are some loose ends and non-sequiturs in the text of the play that would seem to suggest that this is true. However, if scenes were cut, these cuts were masterfully done, as none of the story line is lost and the play is incredibly powerful without them. In fact, the play's length gives it a compelling, almost brutal, force. The action flows from scene to scene, speech to speech, with a swiftness that draws the viewer into Macbeth's struggles. As Macbeth's world spins out of control, the play takes on speed until it spirals to its violent end. Whether or not it has been cut, Macbeth is a masterful work of drama with an appeal that has lasted for centuries.

. . . the acting contains superb moments, namely in the heartfelt, intense soliloquies from Macbeth (Abraham Peterka), who delivers Macbeth's "dagger" monologue, one of the first indications of the Scot's creeping madness, with surprising personal touch. Peterka makes sure to look at different sections of the audience, maintaining eye contact and establishing camaraderie, an effective choice given the intimacy of the performance space. With each glazed eye peering through the crowd, suddenly any detraction from the grandeur of Macbeth seems irrelevant. Character study remains novel, and therefore the high point of Moongarden's production lies within Peterka's intricate vulnerability, which succeeds in lending unhinged power to the blindly determined Macbeth.

Can't argue with you there.

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