By Savannah Faircloth | firstname.lastname@example.org
For the first time upon a Flagler College stage, theatre and film will merge together in a unique conceptual twist of the Shakespearean play “Macbeth.”
Over 30 students, alumni, and teachers have joined forces to incorporate film alongside live theatre. The production remains true to Shakespeare’s text, but conceptually will add scenic and costume design elements of Caribbean, Native American, and Spanish influences. Utilizing unique production concepts on a timeless piece such as “Macbeth” is a common practice among theatre artisans, especially with the plays of William Shakespeare.
In addition to lights, sound, and live acting, filmed scenes and portions of scenes will be viewed by the audience on a large rear projection screen, which is surrounded by the stage set. Filmed clips played throughout the show will allow the audience to witness scenes and character interactions that they normally would not encounter in the traditional portrayal of the play.
The interpretation of the play has been forming in the mind of director and scene designer Britt Corry for the past few years. Forming a solid team, both in front of and behind the camera, was essential for producing a play of this caliber.
“’Macbeth’ is a play I’ve thought about doing for many years, but incorporating cinematic elements into the stage production is something that came to mind more recently,” Corry said. “Josh Wallace helped me out with a short behind the scenes documentary on another show I directed a few years back and when I pitched this idea to him last year and asked if he was interested, he said sure. My goal was to take the audience to places in the text where the stage places physical limitations. Since we were filming locally, the design concepts I envisioned were those loosely reminiscent of 15th century Florida in an attempt to parallel the 450th celebration.”
The film team is led by FCTV station manager Josh Wallace. Wallace and his team filmed portions of the play over the summer with the local student actors. Once the semester started, a more rigorous film schedule began, ranging in several hours, days, and locations.
“The process has been rough,” said Wallace. “There have been a lot of early mornings and weekends. Balancing that with the rest of my duties at the college and my family has been tough. I believe the rewards will come when the show opens and we see the result of all the hard work.”
In addition to the cast and film crew, the artistic department was essential to the success of the show. The costumes were designed and constructed by faculty member Elaina Wahl-Temple and her student crew. The lights and sound were designed by professor of design, Paul Denayer, the theatre department’s latest faculty addition.
“It’s been a tremendous blessing having Paul available to handle these two design elements on the show,” said Corry. “And, as always, it’s a pleasure working with Elaina who not only has my production, but her own play which she is currently directing and opens a week after ‘Macbeth’ closes.”
Despite the sacrifices made by the entire artistic team, the pay-off for their hard work will come to fruition when the curtain rises on opening night.
“It’s been an incredible experience working on this play,” said senior theatre student Jeff Gochenour, who plays the iconic character of Macbeth. “Britt’s vision for the show is really unique and he has achieved the look of colonial St. Augustine in a way that is fitting for the play. The work everyone has put in to this production has been amazing. It has been great to be a part of this process.”
Translating dialogue from centuries ago and making it comprehensible to this day and age, on top of adding technological advances, provides another challenge to the cast. Associate professor of English, Dr. Tamara Wilson, has joined the troops as dramaturge in order to stay true to Shakespeare’s intent.
“I hope that Shakespeare would be pleased that we gave the writer the credit and respect he was due,” said Wilson. “I hope that traditionalists, well familiar with the ‘stage versus page’ tug of war, will see Flagler College’s ‘Macbeth’ as not only the hybrid of stage and page, but also of stage and film, as a fine example of the generative nature of art.”
This method of storytelling provides many unique opportunities for the student actors to grow in their trade. They had to quickly learn to adapt their emotions and motions to the proximity of the camera. While most theatre performances are rehearsed and perfected over a course of a few weeks, filming can require the actor to improvise and adapt.
“Something that was different for me as an actress was filming the scenes out of order,” said junior Jillian Cicalese. “It was odd to be dying and spitting up blood for one scene and back on my feet with a tomahawk the next. The most challenging thing was taking bits and pieces of fight choreography I had worked on in class and putting those into practice with an inexperienced fight partner seconds before filming. It was a struggle to plan something fast and still make it believable on camera.”
This artistic experiment may be a first for the theatre department, but the end goal is a timeless concept.
“Theatre and film have the same purpose,” said student assistant director Keith Comley. “To shine a light on the human condition and help people undergo catharsis.”
Performances will be held at the Lewis Auditorium Oct. 17, 18, 24, and 25 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 19 and 25 at 2 p.m. Tickets go on sale Oct. 13 and are $15. For more information, head to www.flagler.edu/theater.