February/March 2010


Macbeth Gets Off The Wall Treatment 

Dale Gutzman has directed Macbeth seven times. He has presented it at the Pabst Theatre in a Post-Apocalyptic highly praised production. He has toured it through Russia and the Ukraine in an award winning version with Russian actors. He has studied it with Ian McKellen, Mark Rylance, and members of the R.S.C. He has lectured at high schools and colleges around the world on the show. It is a show that has been with him his whole life. Why return to it now? 

"The thing about Shakespeare is that as you grow, it grows and changes with you. It  keeps revealing new secrets about yourself and life itself. That is the magic of Shakespeare if you get deep into the text and get beyond the tights and torches. Seeing a production of Shakespeare can truly change your life." 

This production was held at Off the Wall Theatre and was presented for an audience of only twenty people at each performance. "I want this to be an intensely personal experience. I want the play to resonate for each audience member, as if it is being done for them alone. I want the words spoken next to them, to them, into them. Our small space offers that chance. We are creating a total environment for this show, unlike anything we have ever done," Gutzman said. He sees the play as having greats bursts of violence and action, but also very still moments of conversation and contemplation. 

"It is always people who don't really know very much about Shakespeare and don't really like him very much who insist that their Shakespeare be performed 'PURE."  PURE to them means done in old fashioned costumes, set in a historic period, and spoken in a rhythmic sing-song fashion. There is not a single credible Shakespeare company in the world that adheres to that formula today. Most of those creaky ideas in fact don't come from Shakespeare or his time at all. They developed during the Victorian Age and were handed down to us. 

Poetry doesn't always have to be "pretty."  It can be shocking, unsettling, harsh, raw, deeply disturbing. What poetry does is reveal the secrets of life as if by lightning flashes through an economy of words. 

Shakespeare’s plays even when written were never meant to be historically accurate. He plays with Time and Fact and Theatricality, and his shows, even those set in Scotland or ancient Egypt, were done in Modern Dress!  This is important because it shows us that the plays are about US! 

The rhythm and structure of the verse is actually designed to help the actor get the ideas across to the audience, not restrict or confine him. 

"Not only is Shakespeare not difficult to understand, he is the still the most vital writer in the world with volumes to teach us about ourselves. You simply need to invest the time."  Gutzman promised a fast paced, thrilling exploration of Murder and Madness in his radical OFF THE WALL  production. 

Jeremy Welter played the soldier who heeds or perhaps misreads the prophesies of three witches and with the urging of his ambitious wife, decides to murder the King and usurp the throne. 

Tamara Martinsek who starred in CHESS, MEDEA, and CABARET for OFF THE WALL, played Lady Macbeth, by far the most challenging role of her illustrious career.

Marilyn White, Lisa Golda, and Tom Wellcenbach played the three witches, here presented with several unusual twists. 

Ryan Stajmiger played young Malcolm, heir to the throne, and Christopher Elst played Macduff, the "good soldier" destined to confront Macbeth in battle. Robert Hirschi who played SWEENEY TODD this season at OFF THE WALL, played Banquo. Also in the stellar cast were Lawrence Lukasavage, Marcee Daugherty, Terry Gavin, James Feeley, Brandon Marchand, Patrick McGuire, Mark Hagan, David Skattebo, Sandy Lewis, and more. 

Gutzman reminds us that Macbeth is not a "pretty play." Children are murdered on stage, and we are allowed glimpses into diseased minds.  He promised his production would take us into the horror and beauty of one of the greatest plays ever written. "Those who know our work with Shakespeare, know that we aim to make it not only fully understandable, but thrilling and unforgettable!" he said. 

Only twenty people will be allowed to attend each performance, so even though extra performances have been added, the entire run is certain to sell out. Over a hundred people were disappointed that they could not get tickets for the last OFF THE WALL show. Don't miss this most unusual theatre experience. 

"It will change how you feel about Shakespeare, and yourself!"